Theoretically, there should be little inherent value in knowing how one person plans to vote in a democratic election. Even when it comes to endorsements from large organizations, those decisions are often made by relatively small groups with dubious representative authority.
Nevertheless, the ritual nods can serve as meaningful bellwethers and can help focus how candidates compare on specific issues. There’s been no shortage of endorsements in the Council District 3 race, where the field of candidates are championing a relatively diverse array of causes.
On the fundraising front, there’s been a surge of money in the District 3 race over the past month. For the first time, the District 3 race has surpassed the citywide Position 8 race in total fundraising with nearly $454,000 raised so far among all candidates. City Council member Kshama Sawant has maintained her slight edge over Pamela Banks as both candidates approach the $200,000 mark. As for who is ponying up the cash, you can look up the campaign contributor lists here.
Before you make your own endorsement, check out the CHS reader-powered candidate survey to find out what candidates are saying on key Capitol Hill issues.
Kshama Sawant: Unions are the bedrock of Sawant’s endorsement roll and many of the local unions that make endorsements in Seattle are backing her in the Council District 3 race. That’s not surprising, considering Sawant is A) an outspoken union member herself B) has made worker’s right’s issues, like enforcing the $15 minimum wage, a key part of her re-election campaign, and C) is the harshest critic of corporate greed in the election.
As expected, Sawant got the endorsement from The Stranger’s election board on Wednesday. Calling the other District 3 candidates underwhelming, The Stranger praised Sawant for continuing to participate in direct activism while on the Council. Sawant’s lone vote against the confirmation of SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole was the Capitol Hill newspaper’s only real ding on the Socialist Alternative candidate.
Pamela Banks: If the District 3 election consisted only of votes by the current City Council members, Banks would win handily. With endorsements from six of eight members (excluding Sawant) and two state representatives, Banks is the clear favorite among the city’s elected class.
That support also extends to four former mayors (not including Mike McGinn), four former City Council members, and a handful of other civic leaders. Banks’ institutional support was further expanded last week when The Seattle Times editorial board backed her in District 3:
Banks’ impressive abilities to manage and lead were demonstrated at the Urban League, where she rebuilt the organization and restored its programs after contracting scandals gutted its funding. The financial discipline, outreach and perseverance this required would be assets on the City Council.
Rod Hearne: As the former executive director of Equal Rights Washington, Hearne knows a thing or two about how to work Olympia. In his fight for marriage equality, Hearne also gained broad support among Democratic leaders and his endorsements reflect it.
Hearne got the endorsement of the King County Democrats as well as King County Council member Rod Dembowski. U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer of Port Angeles and three state representatives have also backed Hearne.
Morgan Beach: Closing the gender pay gap is Beach’s top issue in this race, so if anyone were to lock up and endorsement from the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington, it better be her. Beach did pick up the endorsement along with one from the King County Young Democrats.
Lee Carter — As a self described “informational candidate,” Carter is not accepting any donations or endorsements for his campaign. Restoring neighborhood-based government in Seattle is Carter’s single issue in the campaign, which probably wouldn’t garner major institutional backing anyway.
Lorena Gonzalez has a long list of endorsements from electeds, unions, and Democrats in her bid for Council Position 9. Both The Stranger and The Seattle Times have endorsed her and so has her former boss, Mayor Ed Murray. Central Area neighborhood activist Bill Bradburd has picked up endorsements from a handful of local Democratic parties, as well as an endorsement from the Green Party of Seattle.
For Council Posistion 8, The Times joined Mayor Murray in supporting City Council President Tim Burgess. A wide array of labor unions — including the King County Labor Council — are backing Burgess, as are a long list of elected officials in Olympia and two former Seattle mayors.
The Stranger picked former Tenant’s Union director Jon Grant for its Council Position 8 endorsement. Several of the city’s top leaders on affordable housing are endorsing Grant, as are the Transit Riders Union and the King County Democrats.