Seattle Elections Swayed by ‘The Stranger Effect’

“Does The Stranger have so much power that it no longer deserves its ‘alternative’ status?” asks Crosscut reporter David Kroman. “Even the most backhanded endorsement from The Stranger — the paper recently described one of its favorite City Council candidates as having a ‘serial killer vibe’ — is arguably a major win for a campaign, especially one challenging the status quo.”

In next Tuesday’s election, we’ll almost certainly see The Stranger Effect pretty concretely in the District 2 race. The Stranger endorsed incumbent Bruce Harrell in the primary where he walloped the competition. Tammy Morales came in second with 24 percent to Harrell’s 62. But the newspaper jumped ship on Harrell, switching its general election endorsement to Morales. “I hate to give one outlet such power,” says Morales, “but I did have people on the doors ask me, ‘What happened in the primary? We usually use The Stranger as a guide.’”

Since she bagged the newspaper’s endorsement, she says, “It really turned the race around. It triggered this wave of momentum. Fundraising is up, support on the doors is up. It’s a weird thing to say.” Morales may remain a long shot, but with The Stranger’s endorsement she seems certain to at least come much closer to Harrell than she did in the primary.

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