Two opposites taking center stage vying to become next Seattle City Attorney

The race for Seattle City Attorney has been receiving national attention since incumbent Pete Holmes was edged out in August primaries. 

Now, two women are headed into Election Day and they could not be more different. 

You have Ann Davison, a Republican, clawing for support in a city packed with Democratic voters and then there is Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, a police abolitionist, who wants to overhaul the entire criminal justice system.

"Rule of law has to matter to us as a civilized society," Davison said.

"Prosecuting most misdemeanors does not result in greater safety," Thomas-Kennedy said.

Thomas-Kennedy has called herself a ‘law enforcement abolitionist anarchist,' so FOX 13 questioned her on what that exactly means. 

"That’s not what I said, I said ‘I read like a law enforcement abolitionist anarchist,’" Thomas Kennedy said.

Thomas Kennedy went on to say. 

"I think people have seen my tweets. I think they know what it reads like but I think what’s missing from the conversation about the tweets is what was happening at the time, so in 2020, millions of people across the nation got into the streets to protest racist police killings," Thomas-Kennedy said.

Those tweets were sent out before Thomas-Kennedy decided to run for city attorney. She hailed arsonists as heroes, cops as serial killers and told Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz once to "Eat some COVID laced s***." 

Back in late July, FOX 13 News questioned Thomas-Kennedy about her tweet calling property destruction a moral imperative. At that time, Thomas-Kennedy called it a joke. As for the other statements, she did not back down from them during our interview in October.

"I was angry at the time I had to buy a gas mask for my 9-year-old daughter, and yes, I was angry and rightfully so. Many people in this neighborhood were so as well, it wasn’t just me," Thomas-Kennedy said.

Thomas-Kennedy says she didn’t take her 9-year-old to the protests but she participated in the Capitol Hill protests during the summer.

The city attorney will play various roles including giving legal counsel about policies and legislation. The attorney also has to represent various departments in lawsuits. 

Thomas-Kennedy said her opponent Davison was not qualified for the job.

"I’ve been the attorney at record on over 600 cases. She has done a total of six cases in her entire career, all more than a decade go," Thomas-Kennedy said.

"The role of city attorney is not to be in court every day, which it sounds like she thinks it is. It is an advisory role, it’s a leader and it is making sure we are setting the tone and direction of the law department," Davison said.

Davison called Thomas-Kennedy’s rhetoric hateful and divisive.

"Frankly, [I] can’t even repeat what she said. I think it’s so disgusting and glorifying violence," Davison said.

The city attorney’s office prosecutes misdemeanors, something plaguing the city of Seattle. The issue of repeat offenders is a problem Seattle has not been able to handle, and it often intersects with mental illness, drug addiction and poverty.

"I think what’s occurring is nothing meaningful," Davison said.

Davison said the city needs collaboration to come up with solutions. 

"We are leaving businesses to have to fend for themselves, having employees who feel unsafe at workplaces," Davison said.

Davison would be tougher on some crimes, like those related to domestic violence, assaults and repeated thefts.

"To not prosecute most misdemeanors, we are therefore sending the message that our laws are meaningless and we are welcoming people to do bad acts," Davison said.

Davison emphasizes that she also wants to partner with community groups to treat people for drug addiction and mental illness.

"If some of those alternatives are not providing the accountable piece, we need to restore that in and build that in," Davison said.

"The repeat offender is the most, the best illustration of how the current system is not working," Thomas-Kennedy said.

She says her focus is to deter crime but she would do it by not prosecuting most crimes.

 Instead of courts, community organizations would take over.

 We asked how she would tell victims that their perpetrators would not be held accountable.

"I don’t think that’s what I am telling business owners and survivors. First for survivors, by and large, most of them… and there are studies that say they don’t want longer prison sentences. What they want to know is that they don’t want to be harmed again," Thomas-Kennedy said.

She says she wants to create a victim compensation fund.

Thomas-Kennedy also wants to defund the police. Davison does not.

Thomas-Kennedy has received many endorsements, including support from big unions and members of the Seattle City Council. She has also been endorsed by Lorena Gonzalez, who is running for Seattle mayor.

Davison, in a twist, got the endorsement from two former Democratic governors Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke, along with 30 retired judges, which is unprecedented.

Previous coverage: 

EXCLUSIVE: A Seattle City Attorney candidate's tweets were bad. Her campaign manager's are worse

2 former Washington governors endorse Anne Davison for Seattle City Attorney

Stay connected with FOX 13 News on all platforms:
DOWNLOAD: FOX 13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: FOX 13 News Live
SUBSCRIBE: FOX 13 on YouTube
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook Twitter Instagram