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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