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Woodward concedes, Brown to become Spokane’s 46th mayor

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward speaks to the press about efforts to overturn the Martin and Johnson rulings, Sept. 29, 2023.
Brandon Hollingsworth, SPR News
Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward speaks to the press about efforts to overturn the Martin and Johnson rulings, Sept. 29, 2023.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward conceded to Lisa Brown Monday evening, ending her bid for re-election and clearing the way for a transition to a new mayoral administration.

“I respect the decision of the voters even if I’m disappointed by the outcome,” Woodward said in a statement. “I have spoken with the mayor-elect to congratulate her and wish her well.”

Woodward said she offered Brown the support of the mayor’s office to facilitate the transition.

“I will leave office in a few short weeks enriched by the relationships I have been built, strengthened by the community’s resolve, and deeply humbled by the experience,” Woodward said.

Tabulations released Monday evening showed Brown’s lead over Woodward increased to 2,822 votes, with just 25 ballots left to count.

In a statement, Brown thanked Woodward for her service and welcomed her cooperation in the handover of power.

“I appreciate and accept your offer to work together for a smooth transition for the people of Spokane and for Spokane city employees,” Brown said.

Woodward, a former local television news anchor, was elected in 2019. She is a Vancouver, Washington, native, and earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Portland.

Brown, the former director of the Washington Department of Commerce, began her political career three decades ago in the Washington House of Representatives. She also served in the state Senate, and taught economics at Eastern Washington University and leadership at Gonzaga University. Brown served as the first female chancellor of WSU’s Spokane campus from 2013 to 2017.

The respectful tone Brown and Woodward struck in their statements Monday stood in sharp contrast to the negative tone of the campaign. Woodward labeled Brown’s positions “radical left policy,” and Brown described Woodward’s relationship with state government as “so many missed opportunities and lack of collaboration and partnership that would move the city ahead.” The two candidates were also savaged in advertisements paid for by conservative and progressive political groups.

In a message posted to social media November 10, Brown appeared ready to move forward from the acrimonious campaign, saying, “I’m ready to find common ground and get to work!”

Brown will be sworn in on New Year’s Day.

Brandon Hollingsworth is your All Things Considered host. He has served public radio audiences for nearly twenty years, primarily in reporting, hosting and interviewing. His previous ports-of-call were WUOT-FM in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Alabama Public Radio. His work has been heard nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here and Now and NPR’s top-of-the-hour newscasts.