A new leader in D3 race: incumbent pulls ahead — UPDATE: Sawant declares victory: ‘Our movement has won our socialist office for working people’

UPDATE 11/9/19 10:45 AM: In front of supporters and volunteers who gathered for training on her campaign’s weekend ballot “curing” effort, Kshama Sawant declared victory Saturday morning in the race for the District 3 seat on the Seattle City Council.

“Our movement has won our socialist office, for working people,” she said. “The election results are a repudiation of the billionaire class…and the relentless attacks and lies…and working people have stood up and said Seattle is not for sale!”

“Working people, people of color, young people, came out in huge numbers to vote by overwhelming majority for our socialist politics and against this attempted hostile corporate takeover,” Sawant said to hoots and hollers from the crowd.

The declaration shared across her campaign’s social media accounts marked the end of a week of tallying election results made all the more dramatic by daily updates under Washington’s vote by mail system.

In her statement, Sawant put Seattle’s large companies who opposed her on notice that she does not intend to back down, calling her success in the election “as close a referendum on the Amazon tax as possible.”

She also called the vote “a repudiation of the billionaire class, of corporate real estate, and of the establishment.”

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Reversal of fortune? Sawant makes big leap with thousands of ballots left to count

Turns out, Kshama Sawant’s late voter surge will come early. In only the second day of updates since Election Night, the Socialist Alternative incumbent massively narrowed the lead of challenger Egan Orion.

The race now stands at Orion, 51.0%, Sawant, 48.6%. While he still commands a two-point, 739-vote lead, Orion is now racing against math — and it is not looking good. Continue reading

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.

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Election Night count tallies an Orion lead in the ‘OK’ zone, Sawant trailing but ‘within range’

(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

With reporting by Margo Vansynghel, Jake Goldstein-Street, and Alex Garland

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The first count in the race for the District 3 was anything but definitive but challenger Egan Orion opened up Election Night 2019 with an eight-point lead over incumbent Kshama Sawant.

At Orion’s party held at Pike/Pine’s Sole Repair, the early crowd included his family, supporters, and Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg.

“Thousands of voters have talked to me at the doors and they know who I am,” Orion told CHS Tuesday night.

“I know Kshama would like this to be a contest between her and Amazon, but at the end of the day, she’s got me. And I’ve got a really long record of engaging with the community and really getting things done,” he said as someone handed him a BETO for President hat.

“What went well in the campaign? Well, number one that I wasn’t Kshama Sawant,” Orion said earlier in the night before the first count. Orion said he felt only a “9 or 10 point” lead would be really comfortable, given later batches will favor Sawant. 7 or 8 percentage points? That could be OK. But “5 or 6 is like hah,” Orion said, making a distressed sound.

“[Voters] want to see someone that’s accomplished, that’s not too far afield from Kshama and her values and so I think the voters see me as someone that can take those values and get things done,” he said.

Meanwhile, hundreds gathered for the first ballot results with the Sawant campaign in the Central District at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute — the scene of Sawant’s Primary Election Night triumph this summer. When the Election Night results hit, the music stopped and then restarted and subdued conversations began. “Within range, within range,” one Sawant fan reassured another supporter.
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Election Day 2019 notes: Capitol Hill ballot box stuffed, District 3 parties, Sawant campaign calls for extra time

As the final hours of the 2019 General Election campaigns are playing out, ballot boxes are overflowing, parties are being planned, and one candidate is asking for overtime. Here are a few notes from Election Day 2019 on Capitol Hill.

  • Drop box overflowing: King County Elections says it is doing what it can to keep the Capitol Hill drop box clear for more ballots after waves of voters have continued to fill the Broadway receptacle in front of Seattle Central College to the brim. Workers are on hand to help out. You can also drop your ballot in the Central District at the Garfield Community Center as 23rd and Cherry. A map of the King County drop boxes can be found here.
  • Extra time? The Sawant campaign Tuesday morning responded to the stuffed ballot box issue with a call for King County Elections to extend voting until 10 PM. Ballots are required to be turned in by 8 PM:
    Voters trying to vote before work may have to go to other boxes. With Amazon trying to buy this election, working people should have every chance to vote! If you can, please call the King County Elections Board to demand an extension of all dropbox hours till 10:00pm: 206-296-8683 Continue reading

DISTRICT 3 GET OUT THE VOTE: phone banking, text banking, and Sawant canvassers vs. Orion canvassers on the streets of D3

Sawant volunteers gathered Saturday in Cal Anderson for “get out the vote” efforts (Image: Vote Sawant)

Phone banking for Orion (Image: Egan for Seattle)

It would be ironic if the uber expensive, cash and digital advertising-infused, about as dirty as Seattle political fighting gets District 3 race came down to an old-fashioned “get out the vote” push but that didn’t stop both campaigns duking it out until Tuesday’s 8 PM ballot deadline from rolling out a busy weekend of action across Capitol Hill and the surrounding neighborhoods.

As pamphlet after pamphlet and canvasser after canvasser spread across the neighborhoods, incumbent Kshama Sawant and challenger Egan Orion continued to draw national attention as they battle in a contentious and costly race that serves in many ways as a microcosm for the rest of the city.

For Sawant, the push meant a Saturday morning rally at Capitol Hill’s Chop Suey with what the campaign said were over 160 volunteers that then spent the afternoon at 20 stations across the neighborhood they see as a hub of untapped voters for their Socialist Alternative incumbent fighting for her political life.

One organizer said that only 13% of the Capitol Hill Sawant supporters they’ve identified had voted just three days before the election.

“There are literally thousands of people out there that we need to reach,” Sawant said Saturday. “Many of our people haven’t voted yet, so this weekend is extremely crucial.”

Orion’s campaign was similarly trying to reach voters on North Capitol Hill when CHS visited its 21st and Union office Saturday afternoon.  Continue reading

A battle over Amazon? Sawant vs. Orion in their own words on District 3 issues — housing, homelessness, public safety, and the environment

The night of the August Primary as early results pointed to a Kshama Sawant vs. Egan Orion showdown, CHS predicted the race for District 3 would be a battle over Amazon.

Three months later, it is impossible to separate the campaigns from the dollars as millions are being spent.

CHS is not going to try to tell you that money is not the story of the race. But there are other stories to tell.

With ballots finally being filled in and dropped in the final days of the race, here is a look at the District 3 candidates using their own words and positions. Remember the actions, intentions, and promises as the dollars are totaled, the votes are counted, and, eventually, when one of the combatants takes the D3 chair. Continue reading

Starbucks hosting ‘Wake Up and Vote’ event at Central District cafe

Seattle’s online retail giant Amazon has added its heavy mark to its home city’s democratic process. Starbucks is taking a lighter but more vocal approach.

Monday, the day before ballots are due on November 5th, the coffee giant is hosting “Wake Up and Vote” events at 10 of its area shops including a location in District 3.

Additionally, the company said its vice president John Kelly sent a letter to “thousands of Seattle-area partners” detailing how “Starbucks has experienced the impact of the city’s public safety decline first-hand” and linking to the controversial report that sparked the “Seattle is Dying” backlash.

The announcement of the events included an excerpt from Kelly’s message to employees: Continue reading

Di$trict 3: $500/month for a Central District office? Campaign supplies from Amazon? Why did Sawant pay more than Orion for similar ad?

With only one more week to go before ballot drop boxes close at 8 PM on Election Day, we don’t have any results on who leads in D3 yet — be sure to check in here for updates on Tuesday.

What’s sure, meanwhile, is that District 3 is currently leading among other districts. With over 10,000 ballots returned, the District is again out in the lead for voter turnout among Seattle’s seven districts. And, with a total of $1,247,788 raised between incumbent Kshama Sawant and challenger Egan Orion, D3 also leads as the most expensive and, currently, only million-dollar race in the city.

No, CHS won’t theorize about the potential correlation. Instead, we’ll take a look at some fresh numbers on spending from the campaigns and PACs, as well as an update on complaints against Orion’s campaign with the State’s Public Disclosure Commission. But first, let’s start with a poll.

New poll likely cost a lot… but what does it say? On Monday, CASE, the political arm from the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, sent out results from a new district-level poll conducted by EMC Research between October 17 and October 24. It’s not clear how much this specific poll cost, but according to PDC filings, CASE has paid EMC Research nearly $240,000 for polling/research during the campaign, which includes a recent expenditure of $14,800 — so it’s safe to say this poll was not cheap. Continue reading