Seattle city attorney Pete Holmes announced Tuesday morning that he would seek a fourth term in 2021.
Holmes was elected to his position in 2009, making him the longest-serving official. The City Attorney is one of the most powerful elected officials in the city, with over 100 attorneys handling 12,000 civil and criminal cases annually.
His campaign aims to “address immediate challenges and sustained city hall sales” while making a plea for continuity as Seattle moves forward after racial justice protests in the summer and rebuilt after the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My report on ongoing servant leadership for the people of Seattle – in pursuit of basic needs for security, fairness and reform for the good of all – is needed more than ever,” said Holmes in a press release announcing his campaign. “Seattle faces historic challenges – and opportunities – and I am determined to fight for safe, livable neighborhoods and revitalized downtown and small business districts, without losing sight of the urgent need to restore confidence in our law enforcement agency, even if we do we choose our next police chief and negotiate new union contracts. “
Early in his career as a city attorney, he supported the legalization of cannabis and worked to overturn previous possession convictions when marijuana legalization was considered radical. He was also involved in the federal consent ordinance from its inception, which saw high sales from Seattle officials.
His re-election campaign is at the height of debates over public safety and the role of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) following calls to devalue the department and invest in the community.
During the summer police brutality protests, Holmes said his office would not bring charges against anyone arrested during the protests for offenses such as reckless endangerment or lower-level assault if they agreed to join a diversion program participate.
“If you march through the streets, speak your voice peacefully, and walk out after the curfew now canceled, I have no interest in charging you with a crime,” said Holmes at the time.
While some – including several large business associations – criticize Holmes for not prosecuting enough offenders, Holmes defended his record in his announcement.
“I share the frustration of many in our city as we strive to provide housing and services to the chronically homeless while some fall prey to the weakness of the vulnerable and the communities around them,” said Holmes. “Although the prosecutor does not enact criminal laws or direct police policies, we will continue to advise on best practices, including alternatives to arrest, misdemeanor distraction programs, and specialized courts to address the root causes of criminal behavior – including behavioral health crises and substance abuse disorders.”
If re-elected, Holmes would serve as prosecutor until 2025. It is currently endorsed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferugson, City Councilors Teresa Mosqueda, Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis, and King County Attorney Dan Satterberg.