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Latest count shows Sawant shaving small part of big Orion lead

If economist Kshama Sawant is to, indeed, stage an overtime comeback against challenger Egan Orion, it will start as her previous late surges have — with a quiet, subtle reversal of fortune in the first stages of the late vote counts.

Wednesday’s second release of King County results showed Sawant gaining a small amount of ground on her District 3 challenger — but only by falling short a little less painfully than in her surprisingly deep Election Night gap.

With just over another 3,400 ballots counted Wednesday, the race now stands at Orion, 53.8%, Sawant, 45.8%. The gap is down to a flat 8 points — but now more than 1,900 votes separate the candidates.



Tuesday night, CHS reported on the strong showing of Orion on an Election Night when the influence of downtown chamber and Amazon cash seemed to have not been mostly overshadowed by Seattle’s preference for liberal moderates. Orion described his early 8.4% lead as squarely in the “OK” range for safe distance from the get out the vote strength of the Sawant campaign.

“Win or lose, and most likely it’s a win,” Orion said to raucous applause at his Election Night party at Sole Repair in front of supporters including his parents and brother., “I want to say a big thank you to all of you here tonight. It’s all of the voters across District 3 who took a chance on this political newcomer.”

Sawant, after the numbers dropped, rallied her supporters at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center in the Central District with a legendary tale from her past.

“Those of you who were with us in 2013, will remember what happened,” Sawant said.

That year, Sawant beat incumbent Richard Conlin, On election night 2013, Conlin was more than 7 points ahead of Sawant, with a 6,000 vote lead but Sawant refused to concede the race. She ended up winning by one percentage point.

The Sawant camp should have hope. With an experienced ground game already in full motion starting with this weekend’s “get out the vote” efforts, the Sawant Socialist Alternative campaigns have proven themselves as strong finishers that produce a powerful push of support with ballots cast in the final days — and hours — of the race. In this summer’s Primary, Sawant added four points to her lead in follow-up ballot counts following her top showing on Election Night.

Turnout, meanwhile, is strengthening in District 3 and has reached just over 47%. There are still more than 10,000 ballots to count. King County Elections said Wednesday that it estimates about 55% of Seattle’s results have been reported as of the latest update.

In addition to the daily updates as King County counts new ballots, both campaigns will also work to “cure” ballots with issues like signatures that don’t match a person’s voter registration. Tuesday night, Sawant supporters implored the crowd to donate to support the ballot recovery cause.

Despite his lead, Orion also acknowledged that the race did not end on Election Night. “It’s been a long election season and it’s not quite over yet,” he said.


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30 thoughts on “Latest count shows Sawant shaving small part of big Orion lead

  1. Before submitting a comment, please visit the website below to view a picture of cute, fluffy baby cows. Hopefully this will make for a more productive and less anger filled discussion. It not, at least you see cute cows.

  2. “economist Kshama Sawant”…way to open strong with a complete howler. 9/10

    “surprisingly deep Election Night gap”…only a surprise to someone who doesn’t understand what an abysmal primary result means 2/10

    “The Sawant camp should have hope.”…well I’m sure they appreciate your opinion piece and you’ll never refer to yourself as a reporter 1/10

    “Sawant supporters implored the crowd to donate..”…and with that, so have some neighborhood blogs 3/10

    So many interesting and well-written tidbits in this article which are sullied by the bald partisanship. Is there literally NO impartial reporting anymore? Sigh.

    • Given that jseattle gives us tens of thousands of hours of work over a 10 year span, to create a resource Seattle has second to none for its quality and focus … I am *fine* with their bias for Sawant, however much I might personally, as a D3 resident and voter, disagree with it. If anything, I was happy to learn of it. It will help me understand their reporting on Orion better, should Orion hold on and win.

      • Think the analysis you did at the bottom of the 2015 article that Adam linked to was a very effective way of highlighting the remaining # of votes Ms. Sawant needed to secure that election. Any plans to post something similar this year for Mr. Orion?

      • End of the day Ms. Sawant needs to overcome votes not percentage points.

        Wait what? I know you are a huge Orion supporter and like to spin the discussion so that your candidate looks good no matter the situation, but I don’t follow your reasoning at all.

        By overcoming votes, she’ll overcome percentage points and vice versa. The two are directly related.

        *disclaimer* I don’t vote in District 3 and think both candidates are terrible.

      • @Fairly Obvious, as Justin pointed out, Ms. Sawant narrowed the percentage gap from 8.4 to 8 points however, at the same time she fell further behind in the overall vote count going from being down 1,714 votes on election night to 1,925 votes yesterday.

        The only thing that matters is that she now has to overcome 1,925 votes which is 211 more than she had to the night before.

    • Well if there’s 10,000 votes left to count as the article suggests, Sawant would basically need to take 60% of all remaining votes, when so far she’s only taken 46%.

      The next drop will be very telling, because the second one barely moved the needle. If she’s still under 50% of the next drop, that’s probably it for her.

      • FWIW here’s my back of the napkin analysis:

        + As of last night KC has collected 38.2k D3 ballots (~51% turnout).

        + KC has recorded votes from 23.5k of those ballots. If the turnout rate remains around 51-52% then KC still needs to process ~15k ballots.

        + Mr. Orion will need another ~6.5k votes to secure the election. Put another way he’ll need to pick up ~43.7% of the remains ballots to win.

      • Thanks Brian! Seems about right. The second drop didn’t do much for Sawant’s percentage (slightly better but still well under 50). Very curious to see what happens with the next one this afternoon.

      • A little more math: the slightly concerning part (depending on your perspective) and how you slice it …

        From this point forward in 2015 she got 60% of the remaining votes. That would certainly put her over the top this time with a net gain of ~3000

        Big difference of course is she’d gotten 53% of the vote up to that point, so her performance improved by 7% after the Wednesday drop in 2015. Repeat that 7% increase this year & she’d get 53% of the remaining vote (up from the current 46%). In that case, her net gain would be ~900 tops or just under half of what she needs.

        The latter would SEEM more likely. But hypothetically, let’s split the difference: she gets 56.5% of remaining votes to Orion’s 43.5%. So she’d have a net gain of ~1950 votes against his current lead of … 1925. Ugh!!

    • Probably because a lot of the votes that were reported yesterday had been received soon after the time the ballots went out, were returned right away, and were being held until yesterday to be counted. And today’s numbers probably were just either additional mail ballots that were received today, or maybe some of whatever they didn’t finish counting yesterday?

  3. We voted for Egan NOT because of Amazon or the Downtown Chamber.

    We voted for him because we like him and dislike Sawant

    Kshama, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

    • Word! The power of the vote. We don’t need your communist branded signage, your militant canvassing and circus muck about each damn street corner! Gurl we see you, we know you. Get the hint some of us in D3 want you to step off. Bye!

      • Thank you , I have made my front door graphic of Sawant as the Wicked witch and the caption is ‘Ding, Dong, the witch is gone.” My neighbors have asked me to make up enough for everyone’s door.

      • D5 voter here so I did not have the pleasure of voting for Orion but I will be very satisfied to see her and her screeching clown show pushed out of the SCC!

    • Seconded! I voted for him because of his policies on homelessness. Right to shelter system combined with large investments on PSH is way more humane and effective then yelling “stop the sweeps!” while funneling money to out-of-compliance contractors.

    • I also voted for Egan. I am not a fan of Sawant. She alienated everyone pushing her specific agenda and didn’t accomplish much from my perspective. Plus I’m not a socialist. I’m democratic capitalist. I’ve seen what socialism does and its not for me. I think Egan will help disadvantaged people more in the long run because he’ll actually be able to work with all the players in a way that will benefit all over alienating EVERYONE.

  4. Referendum I-88 had a lot of corporate and establishment backing. I wonder why that didn’t cause the same backlash and accusation of trying to buy an election.

    • My guess: Referendum I-88 is specific. Same with initiatives that affect transportation. A candidate has broader scope: Once they are in office they will have a seat at the table for many future decisions.

  5. KC updated their ballot return count this morning and D3 is up to 43.4k ballots – that translates to a 58% turnout! For an off-year election that’s awesome, great job D3!

    Interesting to see how this bodes for the candidates. Ms. Sawant has never won an election with turnout higher than 47%. As it stands now, she will basically need to maintain the 17.1k votes she received in ’15 and add another 4.5k votes on top of that in order to win this thing.

    She has always been able to maximize her voter count potential with a motivated/determined base, something that helps out immensely in low turnout elections. However, if the majority of the electorate is equally motivated* to turnout it will likely offset the impact of her base. We’ll find out in a few days if she has a ceiling/ what it is. Either way just happy to see so many of our neighbors out participating in the democratic process!

    *Feel free to insert your motivation narrative here. If you’re a Ms. Sawant supporter “influenced by Amazon lies” seems to be a popular one.

    • That’s helpful to know! I just assumed I voted for Egan because I’m ostensibly a hipster transplant with a large tech salary and a penchant towards tone-policing.

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