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Election Night: Primary 2015 Open Thread — Sawant, Banks take expected big leads

Screen-Shot-2015-06-24-at-11.23.59-AM-400x495 (2)

With jseattle and Bryan Cohen reporting

UPDATE: A battle as old as USA politics appears to be shaping up in District 3 as the “grassroots” support for Kshama Sawant and the “establishment” power lining up behind Pamela Banks pushed the two women to Primary Night victory Tuesday.

“Above all, we have completely transformed Seattle politics,” Sawant said in her speech in front of supporters in the Melrose Market Studios after the first batch of ballot counts were announced.

Banks at her party at 95 Slide made no speech, preferring instead to celebrate with family and supporters who she said she thanked so much for the many hours of work put into the primary. Banks told CHS she plans to attend to an important family matter and then retreat into a “small cabin” for  a few days to rest before what comes next — a likely bruising battle with a strong incumbent opponent.

District 3 has thus far kept its hold on the dubious title of the Seattle district with the highest voter turnout. The city as a whole has produced a rather pitiful 21.5% turnout so far.

Original post: It’s a big night for Seattle as far as elections go. The first Election Night for the first primary for the city’s first election with the new district system. CHS is out and about at the various District 3 parties in the neighborhood and will have a few notes and pictures to share as the first results come in from King County around 8:15 PM. If you’re out, send us a picture and a note to let us know what you see. Happy election.

UPDATE: The first drop played out as expected — Sawant 49.9%, Banks 35.29%

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.19.35 PM

Meanwhile, the citywide Council seats appear to be coming down to races between Burgess and Grant and Gonzalez and Bradburd:

UPDATE 8/5/2015 4:30 PM: Another 1,800 District 3 ballots have been tallied in the latest drop. As some predicted, the latest votes have Sawant stretching her lead, pushing the incumbent candidate over the 50% mark.Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 4.24.35 PM

UPDATE 8/6/2015 4:15 PM: With Thursday’s ballot count completed, Sawant’s lead has accelerated — the incumbent picked up 2,438 of the most recent 4,291 ballots counted, or 57%. Overall — and including write-ins — her tally has climbed to 51.8%. Banks now claims 34.4% of the District 3 vote.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 4.07.47 PMMeanwhile, turnout in D3 has hit 35.6%.

  • DistrictsMap-3-383x550-1Want a look at the Primary through a District 3 perspective? Here is our CHS Election 2015 coverage.
  • There are five Election Night parties (we know about) on Capitol Hill — including four of the District 3 candidates:

  • No exit polls to share but we do have CHS’s preliminary District 3 survey results to lean on. It’s Sawant and Banks going through, according to our poll:Chart_Q1_150804
  • What drove our survey respondents? Here are the priorities the respondents cited:Chart_Q3_150804
  • Meanwhile, we also asked about the two citywide City Council positions — from a D3 perspective: Chart_Q3_150804 (2) Chart_Q2_150804
  • Tobin


    Contrasting the expected coming fight in November might best come down to the organizations both candidates emerged from. Banks is Seattle City Hall born and bred, while Sawant’s roots are part of the rapidly growing Socialist Alternative party.

  • Oops! There’s a Capitol Hill candidate we never wrote about. Hill lifer Thomas Tobin is, again, running for City Council this year in the at-large Position 9 seat. Again, he probably has no chance.
  • Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 6.45.26 PMFrom the national politics wire, Bernie Sanders is in Seattle next week. Guess where — on Capitol Hill — the Democrat challenger is holding a big fundraiser:
    BERNIE SANDERS at THE COMET TAVERNThis Saturday, August 8, Bernie Sanders will hold a meet and greet fundraising reception in Seattle at the Comet Tavern before his big rally at Hec Ed Pavilion that night. Bernie looks forward to talking with you about his campaign for the presidency and his agenda for America. Please come out to show your support and join him at this special reception. Limited space, RSVP asap.Here’s the information for the event:Saturday, August 8 at 5 p.m. (doors at 4pm)
    Seattle Meet and Greet Fundraising Reception
    The Comet Tavern
    922 E. Pike Street
    Seattle, WA
    Host: $1000
    Sponsor: $500
    Supporter: $200
    The minimum contribution for this event is $200Anybody (who wants to pay $200 to support Sanders) want to take a few pictures for CHS? :)
Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

33 thoughts on “Election Night: Primary 2015 Open Thread — Sawant, Banks take expected big leads” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Continuing her grandiose grandstanding, Sawant now claims “we have completely transformed Seattle politics.” Really?

    Presumably, most (if not all) of the votes for those who didn’t make it past the primary will go to Pamela Banks in the general election, so that makes it a dead heat according to the primary returns. Should be interesting!

  2. I thought Sawant supporters were supposed to be the silent majority or minority or something?

    Things are changing, Bob. Seattle’s ruling class, along with their supporters and those duped by them, can’t buy the hearts and minds of the city’s ever-growing masses of politically, economically and socially disenfranchised.

    They definitely bought some major percentage points through a campaign of disinformation. But, they can’t buy the majority.

    • Steve, thank you. As a future landlord, I want Kshama to win. Rent control will keep the poor, old, cranky Seattleites glued to their crummy old homes while demand continues to soar. I’ll be able to rent a 2-bedroom home on the Hill for rents so high that Kshama voters will never be able to afford them, although techies will be able to do so easily. $3,000 for a 2-bed? $4,000? $5,000? (That’s only $2,500 per person)

      The sky’s the limit when Kshama gets her way. Thank you, Steve, for helping the rich get even richer.

      • Steve, Kshama wants to restrain rent increases to the rate of inflation per year. That will appease many of the people who would vote for her because they don’t want their rent to go up a huge amount.

        What will happen when this plan goes into effect is that other rental units will rise in price more quickly. Consider a landlord who owns two units, one occupied and one not.

        Year 1:
        Unit A: $1,500
        Unit B: $1,500

        Let’s say that the prevailing market rent goes up 10% in a year. Unit A, which is occupied, may only rise by the rate of inflation, which is 0.1%. The landlord wants to make $3,300 total ($3,000 + 10%) so instead of the market scenario:

        Year 2 (market rate)
        Unit A: $1,650
        Unit B: $1,650

        The landlord would have to raise unit A by only 0.1% and would raise unit B’s rate by much more to still reap $3,300/mo.

        Year 2 (Sawant plan)
        Unit A: $1,501
        Unit B: $1,799

        As you can see, a newcomer would now have to pay more. People like the residents of unit A (the old Seattleites) will love that they can stay where they are, but their friends and colleagues won’t be able to move into unit B next door unless they pay a lot more. The same goes for current Seattleites who want to start families or move to nicer areas.

        In short, the Sawant plan for rent control will freeze current residents in place while accelerating, not slowing, the rate of displacement as rents will soar even higher.

        Do you need more help, Steve?

      • Rent control also does nothing to lower current rents, which is actually the most pressing issue. Though I’d guess that a large number of the pro rent control brigade think otherwise.

      • No, I don’t need your help because what you’ve illustrated isn’t grounded in any of the ideas put forward by Grant, Sawant, Licata et al. Provide the evidence to back up your assertions about “the Sawant plan.”

        The ideas put forward thus far include a citywide stabilization effort and
        controls for vacancy deregulation. In addition to additional increases landlords can petition for when making capital improvements.

      • Steve, I’ll leave it up to you to google the plan you supposedly support. If you don’t think that rent increases will be limited to the inflation percentage, you’ll need to google and read.

        Here’s something to help you get started:

      • Thanks for the help operating the Googles, professor Keynes! I am well aware of the ideas and suggestion on the table, by both Sawant and collectively through Sawant, Morales, Grant, Herbold, et al. As I stated earlier, they don’t suggest the conditions necessary for your calculations above.

    • While it may help you sleep at night to think people who don’t support Sawant are part of Seattle’s ruling class—do they have secret handshakes or anything?—you might be surprised to find that some of us just find her to be lacking in specifics. I’m a full-blown, died-in-the-wool progressive/liberal/activist type, and think rent control is a terrible idea for multiple reasons, and she’s done nothing but hand wave legitimate criticisms and questions about the specifics of her plan. Her “tax the rich” rhetoric is, I believe, a cynical ploy to manipulate people who probably have little realization that she’d be unable to overturn state law from a city-level position. (This is also true of rent control, though she may be able to get more traction there; taxes, hah, good luck. She was able to push $15—and did some amazing work there—because that’s a Seattle-only issue.)

      I think she’s mostly selling her future goals, which is fine and all for someone who’s clearly in it for the long haul, but it’s not particularly useful to Capitol Hill today. When she’s at a state-level position, I’ll be happy to support the concept of a real progressive “tax the rich” income tax. Until then, I’d prefer her to focus on meaningful local issues.

      • I disagree. I think she’s been quite clear about the fact that she’s a city council member with no authority over state law. This was clearly articulated at the Rent Control Town Hall, in addition to media reporting. The idea put forward has been: a people’s mass-movement needs to pressure Olympia. You can be as cynical as you want about that, but you can’t claim manipulative ploy.

        Sawant and Licata have made good on this and pushed a resolution to the council to request that Olympia lift the ban.

        I think they’ve been quite clear about the reality of what we’re facing.

  3. “For LGBTQ safety we need affordable housing.”

    What? This is like progressive word salad. Toss them together and… derp.

    “Gun control will lower housing costs!”

    “Affordable health care will tax the rich!”

    “Saving women’s right to choose will repeal Citizen’s United!”

    • addordable housing is clearly linked to LGBTQ safety. 40 % of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Do you think they’re safe on the streets?

      • To clarify, I was unaware that the affordable housing plans were specifically for people under 18; I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that they were for low-income adults.

        I would assume that shelters and other social services would handle homeless youths.

      • “youth” isn’t specific to people 18 and under. some use ranges up to 23. there’s also a large number hovering between 18-19.

        nevertheless, there are many emancipated and/or runaway youth who live and work independently and need an affordable place to live.

        additionally, shelters are meant to be temporary until more stable living situations can be achieved, most of which will likely depend on affordable housing.

      • Besides homeless youth, 1 in 5 trans individuals also experiences homelessness. It’s far from crazy to associate affordable housing with LGBTQ safety. LGBTQ folks are more likely to be discrimated against in housing and employment. If folks don’t have or lose a job or can’t find a place to live they are going to end up homeless. Seattle has a shortage of about 1,000 shelter beds, so they’ll probably end up sleeping outside at least some of the time. If your on the street you are not safe. Heck shelters aren’t the model for health and safety either. Affordable housing=LGBTQ safety.

  4. I am a small landlord on Cap Hill who has always rented my apartments below market to encourage long term tenants and sustain a diverse mix of tenants in my neighborhood. I have teachers, musicians, tech workers, students, and creative types of all stripes under my roofs and appreciate tge contribution they all make to our neighborhood. That said, if rent control becomes a real possibility, I will likely be raising my rents to market before it takes affect.

    I will certainly lose some tenants and will not be happy about it, but I cannot lock in substantially below market rates and lose control of reasonable increases in the future. And cost of living increases are not the only valid definition of reasonable.

    I suspect many small landlords follow a similar model and will be inclined to raise rents to market in the face of rent control. The result will be the loss of below market rate housing in our neighborhood, and the further homogenization of our residents. I dont like it but I cannot stand pat while surrendering control of my pricing. Just sonething to think about when you ponder the relative merits and intended consequences of rent control.

    • I think that’s a fair concern as someone who has stayed below market rates in the interests of his tenants. I would suggest that you try to reach out to Sawant, Licata and Grant to voice your concern around this and perhaps contribute to their policy ideas.

    • Interesting, but as a tenant I think I’d prefer to have my rent raised to “market” and then KNOW going forward that increases would be limited by law, rather than depend on the kindness of a benevolent landlord who might at any time sell the building to someone much less benevolent, or simply change his/her mind about keeping the rent low (there are any number of reasons this could happen, such as a personal economic crisis, family dynamics, etc.). I sincerely commend you on your civic-mindedness but what you are saying looks a lot different from a tenant’s perspective.

    • Ditto.

      I own 3 rental units and will absolutely convert all of them to airbnb (easily 50% more lucrative) — or just use them all for myself — if I were forced to enter an SF-style arrangement where my tenants (who are generally quite affluent) effectively own the property I paid a fortune for, in the long term, in exchange for a pittance of rent (vs. the incredible cost of buying and maintaining property in this market).

      • The other day, I saw an ad for a Capitol Hill apartment that a friend of mine lived in from about 2000 to 2005 and paid around $600 a month for, now going for $1900. The same unit, in what looks like about the same condition. A more than 300% rent increase during a decade when overall inflation was 10% at most. It seems to me there’s plenty of wiggle room there for both a reasonable profit and some limitation on how much higher that rate may go. But whenever this topic comes up, landlords always seem to argue worst-case, all-or-nothing scenarios that don’t reflect everyday reality. The vast majority of landlords in this city would do just fine with the very modest rent restrictions being proposed, just as the vast majority of businesses will do just fine with a $15 minimum wage. Most landlords/owners who are unwilling to work inside those parameters will sell to someone who is. Life will go on, a little better than before.

  5. About 15,000 people in District 3 voted. There are at least 40,000 residents in that district. Sawant shouldn’t assume the next phase is in the bag.

    • Indeed she shouldn’t, but I’m encouraged to see Sawant prevailed by a comfortable margin over Banks’ obnoxious, big-money, in-your-face media campaign (Poster Giant, TV ad buys). I suspect her scorched-earth tactics backfired on her and I expect it to happen again in November.

      The irony is that I would’ve gladly voted for Banks if she had opted to run for one of the at-large positions. She would probably be a decent councilmember, perhaps one of the better ones. I’m sure she’d listen respectfully to her constituents, speak thoughtfully and compassionately about most issues and vote the right way 90 percent of the time. What I DON’T think she would do is push for the kind of systemic, class-oriented change Sawant represents (the Urban League’s history in this regard is not exactly stellar). We need at least one councilmember willing to get out of local government’s much-too-comfortable comfort zone on occasion and raise a little hell over the structural injustices in our society. Only Sawant has actually demonstrated a willingness to do this. She has her faults, and I don’t agree with all her specific policy proposals, but as long as she stays unbought and unbossed, she has my vote. Banks doesn’t come close to her on this score.

      • If anyone ran an “in your face” media campaign, it was Sawant. Have you not seen her thousands of posters inundating our neighborhood’s public spaces? Banks had some too, but not nearly as many.

  6. Scorched earth tactics? She ran a very polite campaign. Too polite, in my opinion. Really, the scorcher of earth in this round has got to be Sawant, whose rhetoric and policies are much more in your face than Pam Banks could ever muster. Isn’t it part of what you like about Sawant?

    • Poor choice of metaphor, I’ll admit. Banks is unfailingly polite and positive in her advertising. I probably should have said “elephant gun” tactics to emphasize the outsized nature of her media campaign for a district (as opposed to citywide) seat. I think most voters shared my impression that someone with big bucks really, really, really wants to see Sawant gone, and therefore she must be doing something right — which is why she finished first despite Banks’ media onslaught. Point taken.

    • Banks has no policy suggestions—she waltzed in to the Primary superficially apolitical. And that’s extremely problematic notwithstanding how much she’ll stand their, smile and relate anecdotes about raising children in the CD—that’s great, she’s perhaps close to her community, but that has no bearing in any way on what she would plan (or not plan) to do with her time in office. How can you not be extremely incredulous of someone who can’t bring any solid policy discussions to the table?

      And don’t be fooled by the pleasant demeanor—that is a very calculated strategy. She’s had her campaign devotees do some of the dirty work (e.g. belittling immigrants and spreading misinformation at a candidate work), and she’ll have her Independent Expenditure partners manage this going into the General.

  7. Bright red posters, fist pumps in the air, endless rhetoric about going after the wealthy. Comrade Sawant and her fellow Bolsheviks are at it again. We have inequality issues that desperately need addressed, but communism doesn’t work. It never has. The only thing Sawant wants is the power and influence that she claims she resents about the “wealthy.” She’s Gordon Gecko wrapped up in a carefully orchestrated cloak of equal opportunity. Her supporters are just a pawn in her game that can be manipulated by one-liners on bright red signs.