In 2015, support for Kshama Sawant could only come in the form of not choosing her opponents. This time around, members of the 43rd District Democrats were able to give the Socialist Alternative incumbent their full backing. Sawant won the endorsement of the influential — if a bit wonky — political group Tuesday night garnering a surprising 69% of the vote.
In a statement on the endorsement, the 43rd District Dems called the decision “the most dramatic result of the night.”
“Our members know that Council member Sawant is a strong advocate for workers, renters, and marginalized communities throughout Seattle,” Scott Alspach, chair of the 43rd District Democrats said in the statement. “With the vote tonight our membership made it very clear that we care more about the values a candidate holds than the labels they use”
The tally was a painful blow to Egan Orion’s hopes of establishing himself as a credible challenger after besting a crowded field in the August Primary to join the political veteran Sawant in the race to retain her seat in November.
In 2015, the 43rd Dems also boosted Sawant’s prospects when the group failed to endorse the socialist candidate’s opponent Pamela Banks, who, like Orion, campaigned on pro-business and public safety issues. As non-Democrats in District 3, Sawant was technically ineligible for an endorsement from the 43rd District group. 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.
🎉🎉🎉 We are proud to have the endorsement of the 43rd LD Dems 🎉🎉🎉 and to have made history as the first ever non-democrat endorsed by the 43rd! pic.twitter.com/kgqdeQRYmk
— Vote Sawant (@VoteSawant) September 18, 2019
Four years later with the group’s endorsement procedures changed to allow the endorsement of candidates regardless of political affiliation, Sawant emerged with the vote and again saw her case boosted by Democrats including outgoing City Council member Mike O’Brien who spoke on her behalf Tuesday and had already announced his backing of his colleague on the council.
The Sawant campaign called the decision historic as the first ever endorsement of a non-Democrat by the 43rd District group.
In the Primary endorsement process, the 43rd ended with a no endorsement result for D3 with Sawant and challenger Zachary DeWolf splitting support. With the Primary field cleared, Sawant Tuesday night found a much more focused base of support.
In other races, Girmay Zahilay had already won the 43rd District Dem’s endorsement over longtime King County Council memberLarry Gossett in August. The lawyer and non-profit leader has similarly received endorsements from the 11th, 37th, and 46th District Democrats. CHS wrote about the rare challenge to Gossett’s seat on the county council here.
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