Sawant advances in Seattle recall election as vote count nears end

Seattle voters have a habit of swinging to the left in subsequent returns, which in the past has lifted Sawant to the top after falling behind in initial returns. If this voting trend continues, which appears to have been the case again, the woman on the far left of the board will likely continue her term on the board, which is next to vote in 2023.

In 2013, Sawant edged longtime outgoing board member Richard Conlin by 7 percentage points in a city-wide race on election night, only get ahead in subsequent votes were counted. the socialist was re-elected to its seat in 2015 after the city moved to district-based city council seats. But in 2019, Sawant edged out challenger Egan Orion, organizer of Seattle PrideFest, by 8 percentage points, to beat him by 4 percentage points and 2,000 votes when all the votes were counted.

On Sawant’s election night on Tuesday, the seven-year-old council member armed his supporters for a possible defeat.

“We fought back with pride and power in a way that should be an example for all workers, whether we win or lose in the end,” she said. “The working class will have setbacks… even if we do everything right, even if we fight with every ounce of courage, because this failed system is stacked against us. We do know, however, we know that if we don’t fight, we will never win.

But the mood at the end of the evening was one of optimism, the recall attempt having finished at the head of 2,000 votes.

“Always winnable! A supporter clapped.

Sawant’s candidacy for city council has garnered national attention from across the political spectrum since her first challenge to Conlin, as Sawant aimed to be the first socialist to serve on Seattle city council in more than a century. Today, she is the longest-serving member of Seattle City Council.

Sawant has become a symbol on the left for progressive causes and a target on the right for many of the same reasons. She lobbied for the $ 15 minimum wage, protections for tenants, police funding, and a tourist tax on Amazon and other big businesses.

During his election night event, Sawant said other progressives who ran in Seattle in November failed because they failed to embrace these causes enough.

But rather than criticize his policies, the Recall Sawant campaign accused the board member of wrongdoing. Supporters of Recall said she broke her oath by using city funds to lobby for a possible 2020 ballot measure on a new Seattle tax for big business. They also accused her of violating the privacy of outgoing mayor Jenny Durkan by participating in a protest outside the mayor’s house and of opening the town hall to protesters when the building was closed during the pandemic. .

Kshama’s Solidarity Campaign, who has campaigned to keep Sawant, told Crosscut earlier this year that the recall campaign is part of a “national right-wing backlash against Black Lives Matter” and others. progressive causes.

The recall and its supporters poured nearly $ 1 million each side for the December 7 recall election. District 3, which includes Capitol Hill, the Central District, Madison Park, Madrona, Yesler Terrace and parts of Little Saigon, Beacon Hill and South Lake Union, has 77,000 voters.

On election night, Sawant reminded her supporters of the symbolic importance of keeping her in power to embolden other progressives around the world.

“If a small revolutionary socialist organization in Seattle can beat the richest guys in the world over and over again, you can be sure that all the organized power of the working class at large can and will change society,” Sawant said. .

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