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In nod to Socialist Alternative Sawant, 43rd Democrats give no endorsement in District 3 race

It was a night for “non-establishment” candidates Tuesday as the 43rd District Democrats made their ritual endorsements in this year’s local elections, which included votes on six City Council races.

Democrats in the 43rd Legislative District, which includes Capitol Hill and downtown, made no endorsement in the Council District 3 race where de facto incumbent Kshama Sawant has disrupted an otherwise Democratic stronghold. The vote is a clear blow to the hopes of Sawant challengers including the Central District’s Pamela Banks, seen by many as the favorite to make it through August’s top-two primary after a raft of City Hall endorsements. The victory, of sorts, continues a string for the Socialist Alternative candidate. Sawant also brought out a swell of supporters and was the crowd favorite in last week’s District 3 candidates forum.

Other incumbents and “establishment” candidates also failed to get a nod during the event, although the vote only represents a tiny fraction of the most politically active Democrats.

As the non-Democrats in District 3, Sawant and Lee Carter were technically ineligible for an endorsement from the roughly 150 party members gathered inside the University Heights building in the U-District. Sawant supporters in the party, including King County Council member Larry Gossett, urged a “no endorsement” vote for the District 3 race as a procedural vote for Sawant.

DistrictsMap (2)Democratic fundraiser and District 3 candidate Rod Hearne was also ineligible for an endorsement after his campaign was late to submit a required questionnaire. However, Hearne will be eligible for an endorsement during the group’s June meeting.

Hearne’s misstep — or calculated maneuvering? — spurred a motion to postpone the entire endorsement process for District 3 until next month when he could be on the ballot. The motion was shot down handedly.

That left Seattle’s former Urban League director Banks and women’s rights advocate Morgan Beach as the only two candidates up for a vote. After giving two minute speeches, neither managed to garner the 60% of the vote required for an endorsement. Both are now precluded from an endorsement vote in June.

In 2013, the 43rd endorsed incumbent Richard Conlin. Sawant eventually defeated the 16-year Council veteran that fall.



Sawant continues to lead the fundraising race in the relatively cash-laden District 3 race, with nearly $82,000 raised. She also has the lowest average contribution size at $110 — a testament to the candidate’s grassroots approach. The District 3 race has attracted the second highest total contributions after the hotly contested citywide Position 8 race.

In that battle, City Council president Tim Burgess also failed to get an endorsement Tuesday night. Former Tenant’s Union director John Grant received the most votes in the second round of voting, but not enough for an endorsement. Musician John Roderick was also close in the running.

UPDATE 5/22/15 4:00 PM: Recount! The 43rd Dems announced they made an error in tallying Position 8 votes and will put the endorsement back up for consideration in June:

SEATTLE, WA: Friday, May 22, 2015, the 43rd District Democrats held their annual Endorsement Meeting on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at University Heights Center for Seattle City Council District 3, 4, 6, 7, (positions) 8 and 9, as well as King County Council, Port Commission, and more. Round 1 votes for Seattle City Council position 8 (candidates: Tim Burgess, Jon Grant, John Persak, and John Roderick) were miscalculated giving candidate John Roderick enough votes to move him into the reconsideration vote. Due to a typographical error, in the midst of the excitement of the evening, their vote tally volunteers (all members of the 43rd District Democrats Executive Board) and the 43rd District Democrats Chair, James Apa, did not recognize the mathematical error in vote counts on the tally sheet.

“We are extremely sorry to our membership and the community of people who trust in our endorsement process,” said James Apa, Chair of the 43rd District Democrats, “we pride ourselves in providing honest results, especially considering our community’s appreciation of our endorsements. Our tally committee and I each double-checked the results, and while it was an honest mistake, we feel badly about the whole issue. When we realized our error in reporting we immediately notified all candidates eligible for reconsideration of their additional opportunity to receive and endorsement by the 43rd District Democrats.”

Because the outcome of the reconsideration vote may have been affected by the 43rd District Democrats’ error, they will re-do the vote at their Tuesday, June 16, 2015 meeting, including only Tim Burgess, Jon Grant, and the “No Endorsement” option on the “ballot.” Candidates will still need 60% of votes cast to receive the 43rd District Democrats endorsement.

In the at-large Position 9 race, Central District neighborhood activist Bill Bradburd took home the 43rd’s endorsement, beating out Lorena Gonzalez, legal counsel for Mayor Ed Murray. Bradburd received perhaps the most resounding applause of the night.

In his opening address for the evening, Murray alluded to the shake-ups centrist Democrats face in this year’s election.

“I believe this Democratic party is going to get hit hard from the far left and the extreme right,” he said.

Here’s a rundown of the final results:

City Council District 3: No endorsement

City Council District 4: No endorsement
City Council District 6: Mike O’Brien
City Council District 7: Sally Bagshaw
City Council Position 8: No endorsement
City Council Position 9: Bill Bradburd
Seattle School Board District: Rick Burke
Seattle School Board District: No endorsement
Port of Seattle Commissioner: Courtney Gregoire
Port of Seattle Commissioner Position: No endorsement
Superior Court Judge Position 15: Samuel Chung
King County Council District 2: Larry Gossett
King County Council District 4: Jeanne Kohl-Wells
King County Council District 8: Joe McDermott
King County Elections Director: Zach Hudgins

CHS Notes:

  • Judge Chung: “Good news … Both of my opponents dropped out yesterday.”
  • Former 43rd District state representative and current mayor Ed Murray was the keynote speaker of the night and used his time to praise Burgess for taking the lead on pushing for universal pre-K. “I didn’t pioneer that issue, it was Tim Burgess who did that,” Murray said.
  • “For some reason, ya’ll never get tired of me,” said Gossett, who’s seeking his eighth term on County Council.
  • Echoing past calls to be accessible than Sawant on Council, Banks said “I believe everybody’s voice should be heard in this city and I will not keep anybody out.”
  • Beach: “I rent in the district. I’m living the affordability issues here in the city.”
  • City Council member Jean Godden, who failed to the the 43rd’s endorsement in District 4, said she would work on transportation issues if reelected. “The Burke Gillman trail is badly in need of repairs,” she said.
  • John Grant was really the only candidate of the night to criticize an opponent. He chastised Burgess for not being tough enough on the Seattle Police Department in the wake of its federal investigation for excessive use of force.
  • Given on of his opponent’s long history in tenant’s rights issues, Roderick opened his two minute speech by joking, “I’m totally in the pocket of developers and big business.”
  • Mike O’Brien talked up his ongoing role in pushing for light rail extensions to Ballard and West Seattle.
  • Allison Holcomb, the author of I-502 who considered a run in District 3 before being tapped for a national gig at the ACLU, introduced Burgess and Jeanne Kohl-Wells for King County Council. She commended Burgess for his work on diversion programs and for opposing the death penalty.
  • Capitol Hill Community Council vice president (and CHS contributor) Zachary Pullin introduced Gonzales, saying she wasn’t “in the mayor’s pocket.”

Meanwhile, in a poll of CHS readers prior to last Tuesday’s forum, respondents showed the most support for Banks and Sawant. We’ve listed the campaign priorities that most defined the selections below:Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 2.45.08 PM

The candidate columns represent the % of respondents that included the line item in their responses about important issues in the campaign. Comparing the results for Banks and Sawant shows affinities for affordability and civil rights for the incumbent in comparison to her challenger. Meanwhile, Banks might want to focus on public safety issues and economic development to really appeal to her base while trying to find some common ground on issues in the middle like education and homelessness.

The candidate columns represent the % of respondents that included the line item in their responses about important issues in the campaign. Comparing the results for Banks and Sawant shows affinities for affordability and civil rights for the incumbent in comparison to her challenger. Meanwhile, Banks might want to focus on public safety issues and economic development to really appeal to her base while trying to find some common ground on issues in the middle like education and homelessness.

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23 thoughts on “In nod to Socialist Alternative Sawant, 43rd Democrats give no endorsement in District 3 race

  1. To be clear, Bryan, I said the assertion that a woman, especially a woman of color, is somehow in the pocket of the mayor/the mayor’s pick is reductive of the robust experience, rich perspective and resume, and continued commitment to fighting for community and social justice. To assert that a woman is somehow brought up by a male is a swipe of sexism in reporting and I hope that people recognize her long resume and career and not just the time she WAS legal counsel to the Mayor for a mere 10 months. Otherwise, great reporting! Thanks for being there :)

    • Thanks for pointing this out.

      Frankly, I was pretty offended by the Bill Bradburd supporters. He got the loudest applause because they were generally just loud and heckled throughout the night.

    • Me too. That said, most voters don’t really involved themselves or care about party politics. This is, after all, a non-partisan election. I don’t really care who the 43rd Democrats endorse or don’t. I don’t need the political machine to tell poor old stupid me who to vote for.

      Anyone but Sawant is all I care about. Anyone will represent our district better than her. Her shenanigans electioneering at a City Council meeting prove that she has zero regard for clean politics and lacks any amount of integrity.

  2. PLEASE GOOGLE ‘URBAN LEAGUE WATCH”. URBAN LEAGUE CHAPTERS NATIONALLY ARE RICO-RACKETEERING ORGANIZED CRIME FRONTS FOR DOWNTOWN ELITES AND BANKSTERS. HERE IN SEATTLE THE URBAN LEAGUE HAS BEEN A CURSE ON THE AFRICATOWN AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY. THE ON GOING ATTEMPT TO SABOTAGE THE AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURE CENTER AT THE FORMER COLMAN SCHOOL SITE BY ELIMINATING THE “AFRICAN CULTURAL CENTER” IN FAVOR OF GENTRIFICATION HOUSING (ie COLMAN NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION) IS BUILDING TO SERIOUS CONFLICT AND BAD PUBLICITY FOR THE “LIBERAL” CITY OF SEATTLE’S IMAGE. PLEASE RESEARCH THE CRIMINAL WASHINGTON MUTUAL SAVINGS BANK AND ITS RACKETEERING TEAM OF KERRY KILLINGGER, NORMAN RICE, ROBERT FLOWERS, JAMES “GUNSLINGER” KELLY , PAM “DOWNTOWN” BANKS AND THEIR OBSTRUCTIONIST AND DESTRUCTIVE ACTIONS WITH REGARDS TO THE AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER.

    THESE OBSTRUCTIONIST ARE CARRYING ON THE SAME UNDERMINING OF AFRICATOWN / CENTRAL DISTRICT THAT LEAD TO THE URBAN LEAGUE’S EDWIN PRATT’S DEMISE. THEY ARE THE CAUSE OF OUR CHILDREN DYING IN THE STREETS FROM “JUDEO-CHRISTIAN POLICE TERRORISM” AND “BLACK ON BLACK CRIME” (BLACK SELF-HATRED AND IGNORANCE). “THOSE THAT DON’T LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE BOUND TO REPEAT IT”. (SAME MISTAKES, SAME RESULTS). Omari Tahir-Garrett, VIETNAM VETERAN, WORLD TRAVELER, HISTORY TEACHER AND CANDIDATE FOR SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL POSITION 9 (website: OMARIFORCITYCOUNCIL)

      • Yes Omari, WAMU had some nasty people running it at the end. Just like the demise of Liberty Bank. And you apparently got your feelings hurt at one point by the Urban League. Yet we now have a functioning, stable African-American museum, not a rotting building and a lot of excuses, like we got from you.

        If you are indeed serious about running for Council, you need to become more disciplined in your writing (and that includes dropping the all caps affectation), more coherent in your thinking, and stop blaming everyone for absolutely everything. No one wants to hear it.

      • Oh bless your heart, Some Suggestions. You actually think you’re speaking to a rational person.

        Omari is mentally ill. He needs help…psychiatric therapy, medication, etc. Until he and his family get serious about his health issues, we’re going to continue seeing his incoherent, all-caps rants on this blog.

  3. “Yet, Hearne missed a Friday deadline and didn’t get his questionnaire back to the 43rd District Dems. (He turned it in over the weekend.) Hearne was not allowed to speak or to participate in the endorsement vote. He will be allowed to ask for support in June.” Hearne has dedicated his career to the eradication of prejudice and hatred. He has not targeted engaged in the targeting of an ethnic group for an attack as Sawant has with a one-sided, simplistic anti-Israel resolution. Hearne is the real deal. The need to avoid simplistic, binary thinking in foreign policy wouldn’t normally be a priority in a city council race, but Sawant made it a priority by introducing a resolution against Israel, but not Hamas or ISIS. Since she made an issue out of it, she will have to run on it.

    • The need to avoid simplistic, binary thinking in foreign policy wouldn’t normally be a priority in a city council race, but Sawant made it a priority by introducing a resolution against Israel, but not Hamas or ISIS.

      lol. Denounces binary thinking, proceeds to lay out a binary argument.
      And if you think asking Israel and the US government to abid by international norms is targeting a ethnic group, it seems you have very low standards for the Israeli people.

    • The billions of U.S. tax dollars being wasted annually on Israel’s corrupt, cynical and (at least in the case of Netanyahu and his allies) explicitly racist politicians is money that could build affordable housing in Seattle and other cities. Sawant is absolutely right to make an issue of it. (Last I checked, we weren’t sending any money whatsoever to Hamas or ISIS, so those entities are irrelevant to this discussion.) It’s time the U.S. government starting putting the needs of its own people first.

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