And they're off! Here are the horses the political arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce likes for City Council: Bruce Harrell (who's running for the seat now held by Peter Steinbrueck); and incumbents Tom Rasmussen, David Della and Sally Clark. Curious, considering neither Rasmussen nor Clark are being challenged-- though candidates have until 4:30 this afternoon to file. Also surprising because word was that Tim Burgess (who's challenging David Della) had curried favor with business types. The foundation was mum on the third contested council race between Jean Godden and Green Party upstart (and alleged plate-thrower) Joe Szwaja.
Alki Foundation Executive Director Kelly Ogilvie says board members have always had the option of endorsing candidates who aren't being challenged. "It's not your fault if you don't have an opponent and you've been good on business issues," he explains. "This is a way for us to recognize that."
The business group took more of a throw-the-bums-out tack with the other races, choosing challengers Gael Tarleton and Bill Bryant for the Port Commission; and Peter Maier, Sherry Carr, Harium Martin-Morris and Steve Sundquist, all outside contenders, for the school board.
According to the group, all candidates were judged by their knowledge of the economy "and how local government can help it," knowledge of the issues confronting the region, and ability to get elected. In its announcement, the Alki Foundation said it may also interview candidates running to replace King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng and make future recommendations for this post.
The picks follow a candidates' forum held last week and weren't expected 'til later this month, but Ogilvie says they wanted to weigh in early this year. Though not the last word from the business community by any means, the Alki Foundation's recs typically kickoff the campaign season. Watch for the chosen few to start drawing battle lines.