On November 6, 2001, Metropolitan King County Council member Greg Nickels (b. 1955) narrowly defeats City Attorney Mark Sidran to win election as mayor of Seattle. Because of the high number of absentee votes, the actual outcome is not known until November 15, when Sidran concedes in the face of Nickel's small but insurmountable lead. The final count gives Nickels 50.1 percent of the vote compared to Sidran's 48.4 percent (with remaining votes cast for write-in candidates).
Nickels overcame Sidran's two-to-one funding advantage and near-monopoly on press endorsements, and an aggressive campaign that focused on Sound Transit's lack of progress in building a light rail system. Sidran emphasized his "decisive leadership" as a three-term and often controversial City Attorney, while Nickels stressed his political experience as a King County Council member since 1987 and his commitment to "the Seattle Way" of public consultation and inclusion.
Both men had outpolled incumbent Mayor Paul Schell (1937-2014) and eight lesser challengers in the September 18 primary. The final general election tally was:
- Greg Nickels - 86,403
- Mark Sidran - 83,245.
In other general election results, City Council members Richard Conlin, Jan Drago, Richard McIver (1941-2013), and Nick Licata won re-election; Tom Carr was elected City Attorney over Edsonya Charles; and Lawrence Malloy defeated longtime Port of Seattle Commissioner Jack Block. Only 45 percent of eligible voters participated in the election.