Seattle Central professor Kshama Sawant announced Tuesday she will switch races in her quest to join the Washington legislature. As she squared off in this month’s primary against Representative Jamie Pedersen for the Capitol Hill resident’s seat in Olympia, the Socialist candidate fared well in a Stranger-inspired write-in effort against the 43rd District’s other legislator — Speaker Frank Chopp.
CHS profiled Sawant and her Occupy-inspired campaign earlier this year including her calls for increased jobs programs, a $15 minimum wage, increased corporate taxes and an end to social service cuts. The Sawant campaign’s press release on the change and final tallies for the 43rd’s races are below.
The Kshama Sawant campaign will formally announce at their press conference that they are switching races in the 43rd Legislative District. Sawant, a Socialist Alternative candidate, will challenge Democratic House Speaker Frank Chopp in the general election.
This announcement comes in the wake of the unprecedented primary election results that have Sawant winning second place in both Positions 1 and 2 of the district. Sawant received over 9% against Democratic incumbent Jamie Pedersen in Position 1, and over 11% of the votes, as a write-in, in Position 2 against Chopp. Washington State law allows a candidate to switch positions in the same House District if they win second place both races.
“I think this result represents a real shot across the bow to the out-of-touch, arrogant Democrats that a Socialist with few resources was able to get such a vote in both races in the 43rd. This is not accidental. Working people are sick and tired of the relentless corporate agenda that Olympia is carrying through,” Sawant’s Political Director, Philip Locker, said.
Initially intending to run against Frank Chopp, the Sawant campaign decided to file instead against Jamie Pedersen, who was running unopposed, when they learned another anti-budget cuts, independent candidate was challenging Chopp. “We want this campaign to challenge the big-business politics of the Democratic Party, which both Chopp and Pedersen represent. And we generally support left-wing, independent candidates who oppose the budget cuts to social services, so we decided to run against Pedersen,” explained Sawant. Unfortunately, the other independent candidate dropped out of the race before the primaries, leaving Chopp virtually unchallenged.
From May to August, the Sawant campaign worked to expose the Democratic Party’s anti-worker agenda, gaining endorsements from the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587, Cindy Sheehan (leading anti-war activist and 2012 Vice Presidential candidate), and Pastor Rich Lang of the University Temple United Methodist Church. The Stranger newspaper then endorsed Kshama Sawant as a write-in against Chopp.
“We welcomed the opportunity to campaign in both positions because, for us, this is about building a movement to stop the budget cuts, to show voters that the Democratic Party as a whole is culpable for the policies that have seen the state budget decimated in recent years. Chopp and Pedersen have virtually identical voting records. Now that our campaign has won more votes as a write-in against Chopp, we have decided we can have a bigger impact by challenging the House Speaker. As the second most powerful person in Olympia, Chopp is the architect of these attacks on working people and we look forward to debating him on these issues,” said Sawant.
Student Debt Noise Brigade goes legit
Meanwhile, some of Sawant’s strongest Capitol Hill supporters are again carrying their message to the streets in what has become a weekly protest against student debt — except, this week, the Student Debt Noise Brigade has a permit. Here’s a notice City Hall sent out about the parade:
Wednesday evening, August 22, some 60 students will participate in the Parade Against Student Debt on Capitol Hill in Seattle. They will assemble at 6 p.m. at Seattle Central Community College (1801 Broadway) and between 7 and 7:30 p.m. they will begin their parade through the streets with a Seattle Police escort.
The marchers, carrying instruments, will head south on Broadway; turn east/left at E Pine Street; turn north/left on 11th Ave E; turn east/right on E Thomas Street; turn north/left on 11th Avenue E; turn west/left on E Mercer Street; turn south/left on Federal Avenue E; turn west/right on E Thomas Street; turn north/right on 10th Avenue E; turn west/left on E Roy Street; turn south/left on Broadway E; turn east/left on E John Street; turn south/right on 10th Avenue E to the Cal Anderson Park Fountain (1635 11th Avenue) where the parade concludes at roughly 9 p.m.
Motorists may experience rolling slowdowns as the parade moves along on the streets.
Here’s what organizers say about the march — we’re checking to learn more about what drove the securing of a parade permit this week.
ROUTE FOR WEDNESDAY (8/22 — NOW AT **6:00PM**!!!)EVENT INVITE: https://www.facebook.com/events/450968784937761/
Don’t forget to get there by **6 PM** for the rally before the march (starting at **7PM** sharp)! Please stay for the picnic after with food from OPERATION: Sack Lunch! (THANKS OSL!)#SNDB #MicCheckWallSt