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On Capitol Hill-CD middle ground, five District 3 candidates go head to head for first time

Staying true to form, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant set the tone for Tuesday evening’s District 3 candidate forum, calling her her opponents — and her fellow councilors — “business-as-usual, corporate-funded candidates.” The statement came in a media release Monday announcing that Sawant handed in some 3,000 signatures to qualify for the August primary ballot.

The other four candidates, and any that may still announce before the May 15th deadline, will have to pay the filing fee or submit 1,119 signatures to make the primary ballot. The top two vote getters will then advance to the November election.

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Up to this week, Sawant and the other four candidates have seemingly gone of their way to avoid talking about each other directly. Tuesday’s forum, which will include some candidate back-and-forth according to organizers, will be the first opportunity to see how candidates handle push back from each other on District 3 grounds. You can ask questions virtually during the event using #43SeaD3.

The 43rd District Democrats candidates forum will start at 6:30 PM Tuesday inside 19th and Madison’s Mount Zion Baptist Church. All five of District 3’s tributes have been confirmed for the event:

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.10.58 AM

As of 5/5/2015

DistrictsMap (1)

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Pamela Banks, “over 40” per campaign spokesperson
Career: Former Chief Executive of the Urban League of Seattle.
Base: Public employees and Central District non-profit crowd
Causes: Affordable housing and income inequality

Morgan Beach, 28
Career: Handles corporate partnerships for the American Red Cross in Seattle
Base: Women’s rights and gender pay equity issue voters
Causes: Women’s rights and gender pay equity

Lee Carter, 72
Career: Retired media consultant and TV news broadcaster
Base: Neighborhood-power advocates and seniors
Causes: Giving neighborhoods more sway over the legislative process and senior housing

Rod Hearne, 47
Career: Former director of Equal Rights Washington, political fundraiser
Base: Marriage equality advocates and true blue Democrat
Causes: Hearne hasn’t carved out any specific top issues as far as we can tell, though his website mentions “transportation, education and justice.”

Kshama Sawant, 41
Career: Current City Council member and economics professor
Base: Socialists and staunch supporters of the $15 minimum wage law
Causes: Affordable housing and tenant’s rights

Publicola editor Josh Feit and journalist Erica Barnett of The C. is for Crank will co-moderate the event. The duo, which co-founded PubliCola and have reported on city politics for years, should make a solid moderating team — especially since Feit has “no patience for talking points, scripted answers, or conventional wisdom” (according to his PubliCola bio, anyway).

In a poll of District 3 priorities, more than 54% of CHS respondents said affordability was a cause they wanted to see candidates pursue

In a poll of District 3 priorities, more than 54% of CHS respondents said affordability was a cause they wanted to see candidates pursue

Given her name recognition and the advantage of incumbency, Sawant is the expected frontrunner in the race to represent Capitol Hill and the Central District on City Council. She’s also articulated the clearest policy proposals with calls for rent control and a tenant’s bill of rights.

So far Banks, more than any other challenger, has positioned herself against Sawant, though mostly through promises to be more accessible and open to compromise. She’s also made affordability a primary issue, but doesn’t think rent control is the way to make it happen.

Hearne has maintained a relatively low key public presence since he was the first out of the gate to challenge Sawant. However, his experience as a behind the scenes fundraiser appears to be paying off as the Hearne camp has raised the second most contributions as of last week.

Expect Beach to continue her calls for the city to address its gender pay equity gap during Tuesday’s forum. Beach launched her campaign with a panel discussion on gender pay equity last month on Capitol Hill.

Carter, who announced his candidacy last week, was the last to jump into the race and staked out a return to 1970s-style neighborhood-power as his issue to champion in the race.

As we head into summer, and the uptick in crime usually associated with it, neighborhood safety and LGBTQ hate crimes will likely be part of Tuesday’s discussion. Again, Sawant may have the advantage after holding a well-attended forum on anti-LGBTQ violence.

UPDATE 2:45 PM: The survey remains open but here are a few takeaways from the non-scientific, self-selected response pool. Overall, the top two candidates named by CHS respondents are, indeed, the campaigns experts expect to make it through the primary:Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 2.45.08 PM

Comparing the issues cited by those who included either Sawant or Banks in their selections, you can get a sense of the causes and campaign platform items that are most important to the readers who responded in this poll:

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.

Here’s a look at some more simple takeaways from the dataset as it looks after the first 260 or so responses:

Those who chose: Pamela Banks
Also chose: Rod Hearne
Top issues: Transportation, Public Safety, Housing Affordability
Bottom issues: Addiction, Gender Equity, Privacy
Capitol Hill power: 58%

Those who chose: Morgan Beach
Also chose: Pamela Banks
Top issues: Transportation, Public Safety, Housing Affordability
Bottom issues: Addiction, Gender Equity, Privacy
Capitol Hill power: 66%

Those who chose: Rod Hearne
Also chose: Pamela Banks
Top issues: Transportation, Public Safety, Homelessness
Bottom issues: Human Services, Gender Equity, Privacy
Capitol Hill power: 70%

Those who chose: Lee Carter
Also chose: Pamela Banks/Rod Hearne/Morgan Beach
Top issues: Public Safety, Transportation, Homelessness
Bottom issues: Human Services, Civil Rights, Gender Equity
Capitol Hill power: 62%

Those who chose: Kshama Sawant
Also chose: Pamela Banks
Top issues: Housing Affordability, Transportation, Homelessness
Bottom issues: Parking, Nightlife, Privacy
Capitol Hill power: 62%

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23 thoughts on “On Capitol Hill-CD middle ground, five District 3 candidates go head to head for first time

  1. I can’t make it, but I’m hoping CHS will do a recap! Any word on if there will be similar forums or debates in the future? I’m on the fence between Sawant and Banks. Leaning toward Sawant, but I’d be curious to see how they differ on some key issues.

  2. I’d love to see a recap as well. Someone get on it!

    I’m fascinated to see if there is a challenger who can stand up to Sawant. To be clear, I’ll never vote for Sawant, so I’m looking for the candidate who can beat the socialist.

    • I agree. Banks most likely for me. But for the sake of this city let’s get rid of Sawant and her morally bankrupt socialism

    • The African American community sees right through Sawant, she has zero credibility with them. Hopefully they get out and vote.

  3. An economist advocating for rent control is like a nutritionist advocating for donut-based diets. Sawant needs to stop such blatant pandering before I could consider her as asset to Seattle governance.

  4. Why doesn’t someone volunteer to go attend and film it and then upload to YouTube? Send the link to CHS. Get engaged!

  5. Sawant is an empty symbol. She’s notoriously inaccessible to anyone without a TV camera and microphone. Her positions sound and feel good, but are ultimately ludicrous and unworkable. She’s utterly deaf to any sound counterarguments or tradeoffs to her proposals.

    This is a district seat, not an at-large one. When you need a favor from the police, City Light, sanitation or SPD, the grandstander who’s chasing cameras and speaking engagements with a megaphone and a fist in the air probably ain’t gonna be there for you.

    Her place is in the US Senate or in community organizing, not on the City Council.

    • If, as you say, the SPD and local gvt entities will be tone deaf to the grandstander– do we really want the US Senate and Federal gvt. treating *all* of WA that way? No thanks, she doesn’t belong in the Senate either.

    • I thought the issue was that she was inaccessable to the media, not that she pandered to it. I presume you tried to schedule a meeting with her and you were rebuffed? What if you are some business owner or developer, why should we take your preceptin at face value?

      She swung by my local coffee shop and talked with the owners about the difficulties they have with rising commercial rent. What other councilor is talking about that? So to me she is very accessible, but then again she is talking about the things we care about- maybe that is why she makes good tv.

      • The two Sallies on the council have been doing neighborhood coffee shops with residents notified in advance that they can attend for years. THAT is accessibility.

      • I have always found Sawant very accessible. I have chatted with her at community meetings and on Jackson when I was walking down the street. She’s a busy councilmember and I appreciate seeing her (and often O’Brien) at so many community events.

  6. I attended. The room was packed with enthusiastic (i.e., loud) and occasionally rude (was it really necessary to boo other candidates?) supporters of Sawant (overwhelmingly white male 20-somethings), who isn’t even a Democrat and should not have been invited to a 43rd DP event. Lee Carter was by far the best speaker, Pamela Banks the weakest. (I support Banks, but she gotta work on dat.) Rod Hearne looked like he had shown up at the wrong event by accident. The biggest issue dividing the candidates was rent control (Sawant for, everyone else against.) Don’t tell me rent control “works” in NY and SF: I’ve lived in both cities, and it does not.

    • “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”
      ~Pauline Kael, New Yorker film critic

      This perfectly describes Sawant supporters. Might there be an election night surprise?

      • Sawant and her supporters were louder and more strident than anyone else, which in a public forum like this one made her feel more persuasive. The other candidates seemed intimidated and kind of at a loss at times, problems I associate with their general Seattle timidity when faced with one who is not following our oh so polite protocol.

        Pam Banks and Rod Hearne need to grow a set if they expect to provide strong opposition to Sawant. There is no need for shouting and booing, but these two need to present their ideas and strategies more forcefully or risk getting lost in the maelstrom that is Sawant.

        I went in tentatively supporting Banks and while I still think she is a candidate of interest, I found myself drawn to Morgan Beach. Unlike most of the candidates (not Sawant), she actually had a list of issues she cared about and could speak about them in a forceful and persuasive way. As an avowed hockey fan (divulged during the debate about the possibility of building the new football/hockey stadium), she may have the intestinal fortitude to deliver a good check on the boards and free the puck from Sawant in this election.

      • I went to a Seattle Transit Blog event and Morgan Beach was there and engaged. She was great. I was really impressed.

        I’m glad to hear that she did well at the event!

  7. It’s obvious from the photos who capitolhillseattle.com supports. Really? One photo larger than the others? One photo with a philosophy statement on it?

  8. Pingback: 32+ things CHS heard during the District 3 candidates forum | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  9. Pingback: In nod to Socialist Alternative Sawant, 43rd Democrats give no endorsement in District 3 race | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle