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The Recall Sawant battle begins — in mailboxes across Capitol Hill and the Central District

The effort to recall Capitol Hill’s socialist representative on the Seattle City Council is depending on the ultimate civil service — the United States Post Office.

“We want people to get others to sign the petitions,” Henry Bridger, campaign manager and chair of the Recall Sawant campaign, tells CHS.

According to campaign filings with the city, the recall campaign spent $8,511.22 in March on postage for 44,805 pieces of mail as the foundation for a postal campaign to gather enough District 3 signatures across Capitol Hill, the Central District, First Hill, and surrounding neighborhoods to put the Kshama Sawant recall question on the ballot.

The campaign’s strategy during ongoing COVID-19 restrictions? Hit as many D3 addresses as possible and encourage supporters to return the petitions with signatures gathered from family, friends, and neighbors. Recall proponents have 180 days to gather a little over 10,000 signatures — or 25% of the nearly 43,000 votes cast in her November 2019 race — in District 3 to put the issue on the ballot.

CHS reported here on the court wrangling that finally cleared the way in April for signature gathering to begin.

The Kshama Solidarity campaign, meanwhile, is also limited by the pandemic, banking on a campaign of undermining trust in the recall backers and calling in the big guns for political support. Its latest announcement is UFCW Local 21, the “largest private sector union in Washington,” endorsing the campaign to support the Socialist Alternative leader.

“It is no accident that two of the three charges against Councilmember Sawant are for unambiguously standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, with the remaining charge connected to her leadership in the Tax Amazon movement,” the campaign writes in a Community Post published on CHS.

CHS reported here on the state Supreme Court decision last month allowing the recall to continue and the details of the charges brought against the longest serving city councilmember. Organizers have outlined multiple acts they say warranted recall including using city resources to promote a Tax Amazon initiative, allowing demonstrators inside City Hall during a protest last June, and marching to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s home address kept secret due to her past role as a federal prosecutor. A fourth charge of allowing Socialist Alternative to influence her office’s employment decisions was rejected by the state Supreme Court.

The Kshama Solidarity campaign says the charges are untrue and that the recall is part of a “broader assault on democracy.”

After facing a deficit on Election Night 2019, Sawant clawed back to defeat Broadway Business Improvement Area leader Egan Orion by around 4% — or less than 2,000 votes — and currently sits as the longest serving member of the city council.

Nearly two years later, Sawant is in a fight to keep her seat. Both campaigns have built hefty warchests with the battle already approaching the $1 million mark in contributions — the Kshama Solidarity campaign, fueled by larger sums with much of the campaign’s cash coming in increments of $700 or more, has a slight lead with $499,000 reported.

One strategy for Kshama Solidarity’s spending? Pay the people. Paychecks to campaign workers dominate the line items in the campaign’s most recent expenditure disclosures.

Beyond postage, Recall Sawant is also racking up hefty legal bills as court wrangling continues over technicalities like what date the clock started ticking on collecting signatures. Kshama Solidarity doesn’t have to worry about that spend. In September, her City Council colleagues sided with Sawant in agreeing Seattle should foot her legal bills in the recall battle.


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Bob
Bob
1 day ago

Already lined up my 12 for the one they sent me!

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
1 day ago
Reply to  Bob

Me, too! I convinced Lex Luthor and Ernst Stavro Blofeld to sign, as well as Ronald McDonald.

Adam Rakunas
Adam Rakunas
1 day ago
Reply to  mixtefeelings

My good friend Amanda Hugginkiss is ready to sign, too.

MarciaX
MarciaX
1 day ago
Reply to  mixtefeelings

If you oppose the recall, or any citizen initiative for that matter, please don’t submit fake signatures. Yes, the legal risk of doing so is virtually nonexistent, but the risk that your “Donald Duck” signature will not be among those randomly flagged for checking and will thus be counted as valid — on a petition you oppose — is far greater. Just send it back blank.

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
16 hours ago
Reply to  MarciaX

They are clearly fake. They are stuffed into an envelope with a bunch of paper to be recycled. I doubt they will be submitted.

Derek
Derek
1 day ago

I will not sign such garbage that undermines democracy. Don’t like Sawant? THEN VOTE. The next election you can vote, this a smear campaign by led hyper capitalists and developers in D3. I love that Sawant challenges power systems. And she did not lead a march to the mayor’s office. It’s such a load of BS. That was all done by the Seattle DSA. Essentially a College Democrats club. Leave Sawant alone!

Bob
Bob
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

Actually there is a separate democratic process that exists as well. That would be like saying don’t impeach Trump, vote him out at the next election, impeachment and removal is undemocratic! These rules exists for a reason.

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
1 day ago
Reply to  Bob

A lot of folks look at the pass the courts gave Durkan demonstrably harmful actions in allowing the police to harm so many people who live in this city, and the heavy-handedness with which they treated Sawant’s controversial (for why?) actions to push back against the most powerful in support of the least powerful and see a decided bias in the process.

slider292
slider292
1 day ago
Reply to  mixtefeelings

What “harmful actions” are you referring to, specifically?

Bob
Bob
1 day ago
Reply to  mixtefeelings

Easy to view anything as biased if you disagree with it.

Derek
Derek
1 day ago
Reply to  mixtefeelings

Why isn’t Durkan removed for teargassing citizens then? No recall around that huh? But oh no! A city hall gathering! Omgzzzz

Bob
Bob
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

So you are a covid denier?

Derek
Derek
1 day ago
Reply to  Bob

What? No. But I do think police violence/racism is much worse of a problem. If that’s the weird False Equivalency Hyperbole game you’re poorly trying to execute here.

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

I think you are replying to Bob, not me? Just to make it clear, I think Durkan should have been removed, I think her actions are a very clear violation of the city’s charter. I think Sawant was pushing the way she usually does, and even if her actions technically violated some minor rules, they in no way rise to “abuse of democracy” and the like that Durkan’s did. I also think it matters that Sawant works from the bottom up, not the top down. tl;dr I support Sawant.

ballardite
ballardite
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

Teargassing citizens? None of those exposed to teargas died or had any lasting health problems. But several in the CHOP died.

slider292
slider292
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

Elected officials abusing their power is what undermines democracy.

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
1 day ago
Reply to  slider292

The courts gave Durkan demonstrably harmful actions in allowing the police to harm so many people who live in this city. That definitely undermines democracy.

Bob
Bob
1 day ago
Reply to  mixtefeelings

Yes, well, Durkan isn’t running for reelection, so you kind of ended up winning there anyway.

Derek
Derek
1 day ago
Reply to  slider292

Abusing power?? Lmao the hyperbole! Abusing power is when politicians work closely with private developers and funnel money into their own pockets. Ooops that was the mayor, in addition to teargassing peaceful protesters over an umbrella. Oh no Sawant used city hall as a place for people to vent frustration. The humanity!!!!11one1

Bob
Bob
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

Vent is a very good word to use there. There was this thing called COVID which has been a pretty big deal this last year.

Derek
Derek
1 day ago
Reply to  Bob

Cops had no problem gathering without masks. Save your concern troll outrage for someone who doesn’t see through it.

Bob
Bob
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

Yeah that’s dumb too. I’m not about to engage in whataboutism.

Cops are bad. Sawant is bad.

sna
sna
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

Well, Sawant did use city funds to ($2,000 on this site alone) to pay for advertising of the Tax Amazon initiative which employed her husband as a paid staffer as well as many of her friends.

RWK
RWK
20 hours ago
Reply to  sna

: is the $2000 figure true? Please confirm or deny.

slider292
slider292
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

If the state supreme court found evidence of Durkan doing this, I would consider an effort to recall her valid, too.

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

Have you been to a Seattle DSA meeting?

RWK
RWK
20 hours ago
Reply to  Derek

“this a smear campaign by led hyper capitalists and developers in D3”

Your claim is what is totally BS. The Recall Sawant campaign is a grassroots campaign, and that is why it will be successful (hopefully). If it depended on the people you name, it would fail miserably.

Latina in the CD
Latina in the CD
1 day ago

The Sawant Solidarity campaign claims the recall is the product of the right wing agenda. (1) this makes me laugh because outside of Seattle the overwhelming majority of those supporting the recall are thought of as far left and (2) given that Sawant identifies as a Trotskyite EVERYTHING is literally to the right of her!! So yes, consider me right wing all you want.

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
1 day ago

Hilarious! Absolute knee-slapper.

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
1 day ago

True comedy genius, you are!

Kevin
Kevin
1 day ago

outside of Seattle

FYI: Sawant’s district and constituents are inside of Seattle.

slider292
slider292
1 day ago

Signed, sealed, and returned!

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
1 day ago
Reply to  slider292

Me, too! I was able to fit in a lot of additional feedback into the postage paid envelope, too.

Kevin
Kevin
1 day ago

If you oppose the recall campaign, instead of just tossing the mailer in the recycling, return it unsigned in the provided business reply mail envelope in order to increase their postage costs.

slider292
slider292
1 day ago
Reply to  Kevin

Ha! That’s pretty clever, actually.

RWK
RWK
20 hours ago
Reply to  Kevin

Ha! That’s pretty sleazy, actually.

AJ A
AJ A
1 day ago

Organizers have outlined multiple acts they say warranted recall including using city resources to promote a Tax Amazon initiative, allowing demonstrators inside City Hall during a protest last June, and marching to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s home address kept secret due to her past role as a federal prosecutor”.

Love her or hate her, I’m not sure how the Kshama Solidarity campaign claim these charges aren’t true.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
1 day ago
Reply to  AJ A

As far as I know they haven’t even tried to say that they are not true. They simply feel that those actions should be overlooked.

Mimi
Mimi
1 day ago
Reply to  AJ A

They don’t even try to claim they are not true. They respond just like Trump twisting the narrative, lying, blaming etc. They are trying to say this is about an “anti-protest” sentiment or from “rich” people.

She abused her power.
She abandoned her constituents to a lawless mob during CHOP.

I voted for her twice and support the recall. It makes me sad to see all these young people on the street supporting her. They are like Trump supporters in their blind support of her. She’s wealthier than me and probably most of these kids will ever be and they still think she cares about working class people. Wake up kids. Time to really get woke.

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
1 day ago
Reply to  Mimi

Ah, yes. Making an actual distinction between the substance of the charges is lying and blaming.

Derek
Derek
1 day ago
Reply to  Mimi

Do you even know what the words you are saying mean? That’s not at all what is being said.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
1 day ago
Reply to  AJ A

Oh, and if you think that the presented issues meet the criteria to merit recall that you must therefore be a fascist, right-wing, conservative, racist…

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
1 day ago
Reply to  AJ A

To repeat (sorry, mods): A lot of folks look at the pass the courts gave Durkan demonstrably harmful actions in allowing the police to harm so many people who live in this city, and the heavy-handedness with which they treated Sawant’s controversial (for why?) actions to push back against the most powerful in support of the least powerful and see a decided bias in the process. Sawant’s actions didn’t harm anyone, including the Durkan, whose wealth and resources insulate her quite well, it appears. Whereas Durkan’s inability or unwillingness to control the SPD actually caused a lot of people harm. That context matters very much. I don’t know about the veractiy of the city resources charges – I don’t recall if that charge, which has been made against her on other occasions, ever stuck in the past and it’s a pretty darn gray area given that council members try to get their proposals passed all the time. So the substance of that part of the complaint seems to hinge on a violation of technical rules rather than abuse of power. The question is about the harm produced, not the acts. Its an important distinction.

FWIW I’m not part of the campaign (although I am overdue in donating to it, which I intend to do).

Mimi
Mimi
1 day ago
Reply to  mixtefeelings

Sawant’s actions definitely hurt people. When she opened up City Hall and let all those people inside (without masks) to scream and chant they undoubtedly spread COVID. Contract tracing has been insufficient so we’ll never know the amount of cases or deaths that came from that action but surely there were some. To willfully ignore public health guidelines during a global pandemic demonstrates her lack of judgment and concern for the people of Seattle. Also – her actions re: CHOP absolutely hurt those of us that live in the area who are her constituents.

Both Durkan and Sawant should be held accountable for their actions.

ballardite
ballardite
1 day ago
Reply to  mixtefeelings

Sawant’s actions directly contributed to the formation of the CHOP lawless zone which resulted in several people getting killed and left lots of people in that neighborhood in fear and resulted in lost business for the businesses there.

Derek
Derek
1 day ago
Reply to  AJ A

Sawant didn’t lead the march to Durkan. DSA did. This has been debunked so many times. You’re just perpetuating a lie at this point. And City Hall thing, most were masked and voicing frustration over cops and racism, what was the problem? I loved it!

Glenn
Glenn
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

Oh, well, Derek loved it! So it must be ok. Surprised the country’s most liberal supreme court (Washington’s) didn’t refer to the plethora of precedent defining the “derek loves it” test to send the Recall Sawant crowd packing. I mean, Derek loved it after all.

CoCo
CoCo
1 day ago

Signed and in mail!!! Yahooooo!

Speaking objectively...
Speaking objectively...
1 day ago

Given she won by about 4% last election, there is no chance in hell that the recall campaign gets less than 25%, right?

If I were a Sawant staffer, I would prepare myself for this being on the ballot come November.

Derek
Derek
1 day ago

I know a lot of Orion supporters who wanted to change their vote after finding out he was a huge grifter fraud who was basically paid by Amazon….so not sure that logic works.

Bob
Bob
1 day ago
Reply to  Derek

It surprises me that you would crawl out of your bubble to know any Orion supporters.

RWK
RWK
20 hours ago
Reply to  Derek

Prove it! The Amazon donation (which was unfortunate and basically cost Orion the election) was made to his campaign, not directly to him as “pay.”

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
13 hours ago
Reply to  RWK

I believe it was not even to his campaign- that would not have been legal, right? It was made to a PAC (political action group) which by law cannot be controlled by a party or politician….

Michael
Michael
1 day ago

Maybe this will wake her up to begin to take care of the actually issues in her district. She’s such a puppet to her party, little things up on the hill mean nothing to her.
Leading a march to the mayors personal home? That’s a TRUMP bully move. A lot of TRUMP bully in her tactics.
Signed and mailed in. A change is best.

RWK
RWK
20 hours ago
Reply to  Michael

It’s wishful thinking to hope that Sawant will change. She is a hard-core ideologue, and people like her do not change.

Edward Everett
Edward Everett
1 day ago

Signed, sealed and mailed. Can’t wait to see the Sawant drained.

CoCo
CoCo
1 day ago

Seriously, could you imagine her getting booted? It would be so good for district 3.

fro
fro
20 hours ago

It’s too bad sawant refuses to represent her district, her refusal to return e-mails or communicate with those who don’t completely agree with her., plus i am tired of the distorted thinking that goes with her supporters.

Derek
Derek
18 hours ago
Reply to  fro

Interesting, I thought Orion supporters were just fake republicans in wolf clothing pretending to care about left-leaning issues regarding homeless, etc. and instead attacked Sawant’s character and demeanor endlessly and not the issues or initiatives that she has brought forth to make Seattle infinitely better. Tax Amazon is HUGE and has already paid off in many ways, even small steps. She has the support of the CD and young base of capitol hill. Like it or not, we are trending socialist in this country because capitalists are killing the planet and communities in many ways.

Bob
Bob
15 hours ago
Reply to  Derek

Lol “trending socialist”. Get out of your bubble.

ClaireWithTheHair
ClaireWithTheHair
19 hours ago

I hope everyone will sign this petition. Sawant’s behavior is clearly illegal. She hasn’t even denied doing any of these things — in court, her lawyers have tried (and failed) to find loopholes so they can argue that, yes she did these things but they’re “technically” not illegal. But the judge threw those arguments out. Sawant did these things, they are very much illegal, and she must face consequences for her actions.

It’s uncanny just how many parallels there are between Sawant and Trump, especially when it comes to this effort. Both politicians did a bunch of illegal stuff, then when caught didn’t even try to deny they did them. Neither tried to defend their actions, but instead used the political strategy of attacking those trying to hold them accountable. Trump attacked the Democrats for impeaching him, as we all remember, and Sawant attacks the Recall campaign as a “racist, right-wing recall.” Both tried to claim the opposition only wanted to overturn the recent election. Trump and Sawant both claimed that to be held accountable for their actions would undermine democracy.

You can even see in this comments section, “Derek” and “mixtefeelings” parroting the small handful of talking points Sawant has put out. They don’t try to defend Sawant, instead they just attack, attack, attack. Attack the recall effort, try to claim it’s “undermining democracy”, and of course attack and degrade their fellow posters with the standard SocAlt hostility and rudeness. What a nightmare the Sawant movement has been for political discourse in this city.

district13tribute
district13tribute
17 hours ago

Great comment Claire. It’s pretty obvious at this point that the Sawant campaign strategy is to obfuscate the debate as much as possible and hope voters become tuned out and either choose not to vote or vote to keep her in office. As you noted she has yet to substantially refute the charges leveled against her for malfeasance and instead has attacked anyone who dare question her motives. The outcome of the Mayor Durkan recall, the charges of racism, xenophobia, the right wing conspiracy, the claim this is an attack on the right to protest are all red herrings. None of these falsehoods change the fact the charges all are TRUE.

The only debate is for voters to decide if the charges warrant Sawant being recalled from office. To that end I would point out as I have before that these are not isolated incidences. These is a pattern of behavior with Councilmember Sawant that the ends justify the means and as long as she is “morally just” (at least in her own mind) there is no room to question her methods. If you do than you must be part of the enemy. So I’d ask voters, if she remains in office do you think she has learned anything from this effort? Has she shown any contrition or acknowledgement that her actions were inappropriate? NO, she has not. In fact she has doubled down and there is no doubt that if she remains in office not only will she continue this pattern of behavior it will probably get worse as she will feel vindicated and newly emboldened.

You may personally favor Sawant’s policies but if you truly want a transparent and accountable government these must be some sort of consequences for someone who repeatedly misuses her office. Removing her from office is not going to usher in some sort of right wing cabal on the council. They will continue to enact progressive legislation but they will also know that the voters demand they do so in accordance with the rules and regulations of good governance. Sign the petition. Vote for accountability!

mixtefeelings
mixtefeelings
16 hours ago

Expressing my perspective is not attacking, and I don’t see how my tone is any more rude than the recall supporters, if it can be construed as rude at all. In any case, it’s a bit much to expect those you disagree with her to offer more pseudo-civilty than you yourself and others here use in posting.

Also, I am not a member of Socialist Alternative. Wrong pinkos. Try again.

Derek
Derek
16 hours ago

Until another socialist is running, she’s the best we have. Do we have a socialist replacement in place yet? Because that’s the principles I align myself with and so do the 22 other Sawant supporters I know who live in D3

TJ
TJ
13 hours ago
Reply to  Derek

I feel the same, Derek.

We need a strong socialist voice in City Hall and for that reason, our family will continue to support Kshama.

ClaireWithTheHair
ClaireWithTheHair
10 hours ago
Reply to  TJ

Voting for an immoral, unethical, deeply destructive candidate, purely because you agree with them on ideology, is exactly the kind of thinking from Republicans that gave us Trump.

“We don’t care how bad he is, or what horrible things he does, as long as he agrees with us we will support him no matter what.”

CapHillNative
CapHillNative
5 hours ago

I’ll wait for the next election to see who the alternate candidate is.
Thanks!