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As Durkan recall nixed, Sawant appeals her recall effort to State Supreme Court

As the State Supreme Court has crushed the effort to recall Mayor Jenny Durkan, her leading critic on the Seattle City Council is hoping for a similar decision.

The court Thursday rejected the “factually and legally insufficient” recall petition filed against Durkan after the mayor appealed a lower court’s decision to allow the effort to move forward.

Lawyers for District 3 representative Kshama Sawant are pushing for a similar outcome.

Last week, they filed to appeal the September King County Superior Court decision that certified a recall petition against the socialist councilmember on four allegations involving her participation in a brief June occupation protest inside City Hall, a rally and march to Mayor Durkan’s home at the end of that same month, the delegation of hiring decisions to Sawant’s political group Socialist Alternative, and the use of city resources to promote the Tax Amazon ballot initiative.

“While working people should be angry at this outcome, we should not be surprised,” Sawant said after the ruling. “The laws and courts and police under capitalism do not serve working people, people of color, those already marginalized under capitalism. They are made to hold up the status quo of deep inequality, of violence, of racism, sexism, of ruthless exploitation of the whole working class and the environment.”

Led by District 3 resident Ernie Lou, the Sawant recall effort has raised tens of thousands of dollars with most of its donors shielded from disclosure because they’ve given less than $25. Only more than a dozen donors listed their names and addresses while the remaining 1,700 contributors are considered “unitemized contributors” because they gave less than $25, as first reported by The Stranger.

“It’s the right thing to do and nobody is above the law,” recall Sawant campaign spokesperson and treasurer Henry Bridger told CHS. With more than three years left on Sawant’s term, Bridger said the issue is too urgent to wait to vote her out: “Should the Congress not have impeached Trump?”

Brad Augustine, owner of Madrona Real Estate and developer and manager of several Capitol Hill properties, said he has been involved in the early stages of the recall process. Augustine acknowledges that Sawant held off efforts he supported to defeat her last November. “We lost and she won,” he says matter of factly. After facing a deficit on Election Night 2019, Sawant clawed back with late ballots to defeat Orion by over 4% — or less than 2,000 votes. But he said the stakes have gone up with Sawant’s actions since reelection and during the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, the highly controversial space also known as CHOP that sprouted following the police vacating its East Precinct in early June.

CHS reached out to about a dozen donors named in recent campaign filings and the lawyers on both sides, none of whom responded. The recall effort’s lawyers are from the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine and include John McKay, who served as U.S. Attorney during the George W. Bush administration.

Should the State Supreme Court decide to similarly reject the certification, the recall effort will hit a dead end. But if it declines to hear the case or agrees with the lower court ruling, the recall proponents would have until early 2021 to gather a little over 10,000 signatures — or 25% of the nearly 43,000 votes cast in her November 2019 race — to send the issue to the voters.

UPDATE 10/12/2020: Sawant’s lawyers had also filed a motion asking Judge Jim Rogers to reconsider his September decision. Friday, the judge denied the motion. However, Sawant’s appeal to the Supreme Court can still move forward.


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15 thoughts on “As Durkan recall nixed, Sawant appeals her recall effort to State Supreme Court” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. As much as I dislike Durkan for her recent actions, I’m glad the court is throwing out her recall. And unless the courts agree that Sawant misused City funds, I hope they do the same with hers.

    Recalls should be reserved for strictly defined, limited situations and not just because people disprove of a politician. Recalls like these do nothing but subvert the democratic process and cause political chaos if the recall succeeds.

    Let the democratic process play out. If people don’t approve of a politician, they should run viable candidates against them. If the people behind the recalls are correct, they should have no problem beating Durkan and Sawant in their next general elections.

  2. I’m organizing a daily mask-free rally outside of her house for every evening at 11:00 pm starting tomorrow night. It will be called the EDRAC (Every Day Rally Against Corruption). We will be taking all the trash from Cal Anderson Park and depositing it on her front lawn. We will also be smashing her windows and those of her neighbors. Small fires are also encouraged. We will stand close together and chant loudly making sure to spread the virus as much as possible. If she complains or has concerns we will ignore her and shout talking points given to us by the national leader of our Movement. Stand against corruption now! PM me for details.

  3. The Durkan recall was doomed from the beginning not only because it was a case without merit but because the organizers are simply addicted to rage like the other rioters. The Sawant recall will have raised over $100k by the next time they file with more support coming in from all over Seattle. It was so white who abandon Capitol Hill and called for the violent takeover of the East precinct. It was Sawant who led 1000 antifa into City Hall during the Covid lockdown. It was Swanson who took 1000 protesters to Durkan‘s house even though she knew it was illegal doing so. It only takes one charge to make it through the supreme court in the 10,000 signatures to qualify will fall like November rain. From there it is a simple majority to kick her off the council and will be just the beginning of a series of changes coming to the City Council in 2021.

  4. If the supreme court lets the Sawant recall proceed while blocking the Durkan one… it will kind of prove what conservatives have been saying about the WA supreme court being politicized.

    Durkan is a former Obama official, and beloved by the state’s political establishment, even if she isn’t beloved by actual Seattleites. If the recall went forward, she would definitely lose the election. Miraculously, she received a *unanimous* supreme court verdict.

    Sawant on the other hand, clearly has a target on her back. Lots of non-sensical ethics complaints against her for using the office printer too much, but she keeps winning elections.

    I think the most likely outcome is the supreme court lets the recall go forward, and she wins reelection anyway.

      • let the young bask in their ignorance. Sawant is a lame-duck politician and doesn’t even know it yet. The recall effort has raised $160,000 in small in-city donations in just a few weeks with dozens of volunteers ready to gather signatures, put up signs and make calls. The Durkan recall was without legal merit and organized by people addicted to rage. They’re about to get a lesson from the silent majority on how to get City Hall back to doing the people’s business – not Sawant’s

      • Sawant is a lame-duck politician and doesn’t even know it yet.

        *citation needed*

        The recall effort has raised $160,000 in small in-city donations in just a few weeks with dozens of volunteers ready to gather signatures, put up signs and make calls.

        There’s a lot of people outside of District 3 that don’t care much for Sawant. They can donate all they want, but they can’t vote in the recall unless they live in District 3.

  5. Capitalism yadda yadda movement blah blah…it’s all squid ink. You done wrong, Councilmember, and now you must face the consequences in a court of law and then to the voters of your district. The maximum stretch of her political theater of the absurd has perhaps been reached and things will hopefully snap back to a more sane and pragmatic place.

  6. Sawant has to go, as she is hurting the residents and businesses of Capitol Hill, breaking laws to bully the mayor or anyone who doesn’t agree with her. People are being terrorized and she is driving it, instead of protecting her constituents.

    People of all ages, races & income are fleeing Capitol Hill, which has always been a community based on love for all, where protest have always been peaceful and welcomed. Burn it down isn’t working for anyone, but Sawant’s need for fame.

  7. I’m so tired of Sawant and her antics. However I’m having a hard time caring any longer. If she is recalled, City Council will replace her with someone just like her. So who cares. Seattle is an idiotic City now.

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