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‘History’ — 43rd District Democrats endorse ‘non-Democrat’ Sawant

Council member Mike O’Brien speaks in support of Kshama Sawant (Image: Vote Sawant)

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”

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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.

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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25 thoughts on “‘History’ — 43rd District Democrats endorse ‘non-Democrat’ Sawant

    • From

      The 43rd District Democrats is a volunteer organization, working to connect Democrats in Washington’s 43rd Legislative District with elected officials, grassroots organizations, and ways to be effective advocates for our party. The purpose of the 43rd Dems is to promote the Democratic Party and to increase participation by educating individuals about the principles, goals and candidates of the Democratic Party.

      • It seems like the 43rd District Democrats should revisit “the principles, goals and candidates of the Democratic Party.” I could see them not endorsing either candidate perhaps, but selecting Ms. Sawant implies that she is the embodiment of the Democratic Party. And this seems more than a bit of stretch.

      • I guess the elected democrats currently sitting on the Council and the Mayor are corporate shills and neoliberals beholden to business and development interests, just as Sawant describes them every time she has an opportunity. How else to explain her endorsement by those purporting to be members of the democratic party?

        To reject actual democratic candidates rising out of your own ranks and endorse a member of another party who constantly denigrates the elected members of the party to which you belong? Only democrats could accomplish this piece of twisted business.

  1. I emailed them about my concerns involving some anti-Semitic incidents involving their members. They laughed in my face (figuratively speaking).

    • You slanderous scoundrel “Lisa”,

      How dare you accuse Socialist Alternative members of being anti-semites?

      Where’s your evidence?

      Put up or shut up.

      • Why is it that people that brand themselves as “socialists” are so unpleasant?
        Is that in the handbook?
        although I do like to imagine this person twisting their handlebar mustache while writing this comment.

  2. The 43rd District Democrats have managed to make themselves even more irrelevant than the 43rd District Republicans.

    Yeah, let’s endorse the lady who rails against the Democratic Party and Democrats on a regular basis. I think we now have a new Wikipedia reference for “circular firing squad”

  3. Yuck, maybe they should just change their name to “43rd District Socialists”?

    She didn’t really accomplish that much why stick with what doesn’t work?

    Homelessness and drug addiction are only worse, rents are higher, streets and sidewalks are completely 3rd world.

  4. Mike O’Brien’s endorsement of and campaigning for Sawant are clear signs of a wounded ego; Seattle doesn’t want Mike, so he’s going to get back any way he can. And what more telling middle finger to Seattle than to promote a brazen demagogue, hypocrite, and bomb-thrower like Kshama Sawant.

  5. I was at the meeting, and though both candidates did a good job, Sawant’s plans were just plainly better. Her platform of getting big business out of politics is exactly what Seattle needs. I don’t care if she is a socialist, democrat, or a republican. She wants Seattle to be a place where people can live, work, and thrive. We can’t do that if corporations use their wealth to push around normal people. Her plan was simple and clear, and that’s why she got my vote.