Re-election: Sawant officially enters District 3 race — UPDATE

Kshama Sawant has entered the 2019 race for her seat representing District 3 on the Seattle City Council.

Vote Sawant 2019 is now an official political committee registered with the city’s Ethics and Elections Committee.

According to records, the group is starting with around $2,700 in debt to various organizations including Sawant’s political organization Socialist Alternative, the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, and the Smith & Lowney law firm.

Expect the campaign’s finances to greatly improve. In 2015, Sawant out-raised her opponent by 20%, accumulating some $480,258 in contributions from some 3,900 supporters — about 2,500 more than Pamela Banks.


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The 2019 race will represent Sawant’s second defense of her seat on the council as an incumbent following her debut victory to join the body over incumbent Richard Conlin in 2013.

Sawant’s path to victory in 2019 may be off to a rockier start following reports of Socialist Alternative’s influence in her City Council office extending to direction on votes and staffing. Sawant addressed the issues last week, saying she is “democratically accountable” to Socialist Alternative as she serves her constituents in District 3.

Sawant may also find her opponents a larger challenge this time around. Beto Yarce, a member of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Small Business Advisory Council and director of a nonprofit dedicated to economic mobility for Latino small business owners, has criticized Sawant over the Socialist Alternative issues and is lined up to win the district’s business support and voters in its wealthier neighborhoods.

Marijuana retail store owner Logan Bowers and  Beacon Hill neighborhood activist Pat Murakami have also joined the race.

As of this week, Yarce is leading in campaign contributions with only $2,100 raised. Murakami has the largest campaign total to date after she loaned herself $2,500.

Sawant’s funding this time around will also likely be boosted by the city’s Democracy Vouchers program. Each of her competitors have said they also plan to be part of the program which provides vouchers to residents that can be pledged to qualifying Seattle City Council candidates. D3 candidates have said the new program is a boost for democracy — but the timing required to be part of the program and raise funding in time to be competitive in the August primary has meant early entries in the race for participants.

Sawant has not yet announced her campaign publicly but local Socialist Alternative organizers seem geared up for the fight. A January 29th event — Socialists Into City Hall—Building the Mvmt in the 2019 Election — will feature Sawant, a “Socialist Alternative Member & 2019 Candidate for D3.”

UPDATE 1/15/2019: A campaign spokesperson said Sawant was moved to join the campaign at this early juncture in part due to enthusiasm from her supporters who began donating to a possible campaign even before one had been declared.

“Lots of people expected Kshama to run,” the spokesperson said.

The decision was made to file the needed paperwork so as not to run afoul of any campaign finance issues. The decision on whether Sawant will take part in the city’s Democracy Vouchers program hasn’t been finalized, we’re told.

The campaign is planning an official kickoff later this month.

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24 thoughts on “Re-election: Sawant officially enters District 3 race — UPDATE

    • Seattle seems to hate every mayor elected for the last 4 or 5, at least. Saying “Durkan has turned out to be a bust” puts her in a group with remarkably similar experience with voters after getting elected. With the same complaints about every mayor, I’ve begun to wonder if it’s really that the mayors are all so bad– or would *any* mayor satisfy this city?

      • Good point, Jim. There is a certain portion of the Seattle electorate (leftists) who, in knee-jerk fashion, hate any Mayor….because they see him/her as too conservative and a tool of “the man.”

        I don’t agree with Durkan on everything, but overall I think she’s doing a good job at a very challenging time for our city.

      • Good point, Jim. There is a certain portion of the Seattle electorate (leftists) who, in knee-jerk fashion, hate any Mayor….because they see him/her as too conservative and a tool of “the man.”

        There’s also a certain portion of the Seattle electorate (rightists) who, in knee-jerk fashion, hate any Mayor….because they see him/her as too liberal.

        That’s the same at any level of government across the known universe.

        While a good opportunity to dump on a political ideology that you don’t much care for Bob, that doesn’t explain why Seattle has a hate-hate relationship with mayors, even the ones that win by a large margin.

        I think it’s more of a two pronged process:

        1. The Seattle process essentially cripples the mayor’s ability to be effective. This basically describes Nickels, most of McGinn, Murray and Durkan’s (so far) careers. People see them as ineffective and dislike them.
        2. A mayor decides to shun the Seattle process and move forward with something. McGinn tried this a few time and got booted for it. People also don’t like sudden change.

        So it ends up being a lose-lose situation and mayors end up hated by the end of their terms. The smart ones are just hoping to get to the end of their term scandal free so they can move on to more lucrative political positions, which is what Durkan appears to be attempting.

  1. I’ll be looking for someone who is well balanced. Someone who will take legitimate concerns of business AND an effective mechanism for helping people who want help. I also want a staff that listens to my questions/concerns and helps navigate the city system. Not staff who talk back to me and tell me I am heartless and racist. There are many things we need to keep/make Seattle more livable for all of us. Race is a big issue in Seattle and always has been. We need to be continually aware of its impact on our neighbors. I want an inclusive representative who not only listens to current leadership but can get outside that structure to listen to some of the rest of us. I’ll keep my vouchers (one they come) until I find that candidate.

  2. She should’ve quit while she was ahead. If she gets tossed out now, it will be a huge repudiation by Seattle voters of all her dogmatic drivel. Especially if she gets smeared. But I guess when such big ego and large-scale delusion are involved….

  3. It would be more than wonderful if she did not make it past the primary. She likely will make it if past is prologue, due to name recognition and her dedicated acolytes.

    I hope that I have a choice that I don’t need to wince at.

  4. Kshama’s not gonna go down quietly. This SCC has been her meal ticket ($150K incl. benes isn’t bad money for a job she shows up to maybe half the time) and her claim to fame as Seattle’s only elected ‘socialist’ (which she is not, she is true believing Trotskyite Marxist).

    So we’ll being hearing a lot of shrieking and a lot of slander, and a lot of vanity protests where Kshama has 4,000 posters printed on City copiers, and maybe 150 people show up. She’ll be saying more and more outlandish things (Seattle: “Is such a thing possible?” Kshama: “Hold my beer.”). She’ll make ever more insistent demands that Seattle bow to the will of her ‘movement.’ SCC meetings with reach their apotheosis as P.T. Sawant circuses, when Kshama shows all the world the new tricks she’s taught her obedient husband (Good revolutionary, Calvin! Good, good Revolutionary!) and her minions are fully decked out in ‘official’ socialist alternative hoodies.

    The past several years have been painful to watch. Maybe, though, they were just a build-up in a joke to the ultimate punchline. I don’t think Kshama will be laughing last.

  5. So much Sawant hate, weird how the commenters on this site turned so conservative after it returned from hiatus.

    So, is there a single person on our council who is better than Sawant? In my opinion, there has been nobody close. In the most recent instance of the endless Sawant was right but everyone else insisted on pushing a policy through without proper consideration would be the the police union agreement – you know, the one that allllll the civil rights orgs opposed yet our council all voted for anyway (except Sawant)? Now it’s being reviewed as a potential obstacle to removal of the Justice Department’s consent decree, and it turns out the police department hid the reinstatement of a violent officer until after it had been approved. If anything, we need more people on the council like Sawant. I look forward to another two years of angry internet commenters after she is re-elected. Don’t worry, the talk radio people will still agree with you.

    Oh, and sorry to bring actual policy into the discussion, feel free to carry on with your frothing angry comments, don’t forget to mention the head tax! Can you complain about real estate taxes and homelessness at the same time that you praise not taxing billion dollar corporations? I’m counting on you!

      • JSeattle, I don’t think it was anything you changed (same great neighborhood reporting as always : ); there are likely multiple factors that have resulted in the comments becoming a bit more one sided & less nuanced. Would think some of it has to do with people coming from aggregate news sites, along with major demographic shifts in the neighborhood, some of the community finding alternate news sources, the constant flow of people in and out of the neighborhood, combined with a universal decline in blog comments in general (more people comment on FB/Twtr/etc now instead), and a cycle that accelerates the disenchantment… most of the time I actually comment it’s because I see such an overwhelming commitment to views I find repulsive & absurd (really, is Sawant, a singular voice of opposition to the 8 other members of the council and Mayor really to blame for all our cities woes? People are constantly complaining about the homeless and property taxes, then also oppose the head tax? And on and on…). I know I’m not alone in my own views, and I want other people to not feel like the views expressed by comments on here are anywhere close to universal. Still, I also know that I am probably not alone in being hesitant to post, and even more hesitant to read replies, as I generally don’t have the emotional energy or desire to be dragged into an extended conversation in the comments; and when I do comment, I often just end up regretting that I said anything to begin with… and then end up doing it again the next time I’m grossed out by the total lack of empathy & critical thinking skills.

    • I don’t agree that commenters have “turned more conservative.” It’s just that Sawant, with her grandstanding and arrogance, has invited valid criticism, and that is what you are reading here.

      How do you respond to the fact that she is much more interested in city-wide, national, and global issues…and spends almost no effort to represent the citizens of District 3? Many commenters here, over the past 2 years, have said that, when they contact her office over a certain problem, they get no response at all.

      • I don’t think the commenters have gotten more conservative, I think the more conservative voices have always been here, but have driven everyone else away. Without her “grandstanding and arrogance”, we would not have the $15 minimum wage ( a lot of people did and still do find that to be arrogant grandstanding, and still dislike her because it worked). What you call grandstanding, I’d call making herself and the people of the city heard, because without that, us plebeian renters would have little voice in our city (this isn’t hypothetical, our council was stacked with politicians who catered almost exclusively to business and developer interests – for the most part it still does, but it’s frustrating for those who have lost the unquestioned influence they are accustomed to having).

        (re: “How do you respond to…”)
        I’d say that you are finding excuses to justify your dislike of her politics. Do you post comments on every Jay Inslee news story about how he is more focused on running for higher office and more focused on global issues than WA issues? What about the council member who recently visited NYC to speak about Amazon, do you want them voted out too? Or was that focused on the City of Seattle? I think you are making very selective criticisms, and parroting what others have said to avoid addressing actual issues (“Many commenters here” is not a reliable news source, have you tried contacting her office?*). If you disagree with the $15 minimum wage, or the head tax, or any other actual policy views, that’s fine – but echoing gossip and making selective, targeted criticisms is counterproductive to intelligent discourse.

        *Disclaimer: I have never tried to solicit a response from Sawant (or any other council member’s office) either – lack of engagement on valid concerns is a legitimate criticism if true (and, from what I’ve read on various news sites, likely is true, and should be addressed). .. and contrary to what it may appear, I’m not 100 percent pro-Sawant (more like 95 percent : ) – she has said some things I have disagreed with, and if there is another candidate with political views that align closely with my own that seems like they will be as effective, I will give them full consideration.

      • @Ava……while I disagree with most of what you say, I appreciate your calm and thoughtful response.

        As for leftist people being driven away from the blog by more conservative commenters, I don’t think leftists in general are “shrinking violets.” They tend to be very vocal and sometimes aggressive in their comments, and are unlikely to leave. I think the comments on CHS are probably quite reflective of the sentiment in the community at large, which these days is quite anti-Sawant. The election next fall will be the final word on whether this is true or not.

        As for the City Council being mainly pro-business, that is very doubtful. The head tax was rolled back not because of business lobbying, but because of a groundswell of public opinion, which the Council (for a change) responded to.

  6. A definite no on this lunatic. I will donate as much as it takes to whoever is running against her. We definitely need to organize support and fund her opponents. She is arrogant, ignorant, and is hell bent on destroying our way of life.

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