Recall vote tightens for Seattle socialist in latest tally
SEATTLE (AP) – The vote in a recall effort against a socialist Seattle city council member tightened considerably on Wednesday as more mail-in ballots were counted, meaning at least one more would be needed day until it was clear whether the controversial lawmaker would be ousted.
Kshama Sawant Sawant, 48, professor of economics, is the longest-serving board member. The results last showed just over 50% of voters in favor of Sawant’s recall – more than 53% after the initial tally appeared on Tuesday night.
Another count will be released on Thursday. It’s not uncommon for municipal races to tip over – in the last election, more liberal candidates in Seattle tend to catch up with the ballots that arrive later.
“Win or lose, we must not forget that the ruling class continues to pursue us because we have shown how to win for the working class,” Sawant said Tuesday evening after the release of the first results. “Not once, not twice, but repeatedly with unprecedented victories.”
If Sawant survives the recall, it would be a boost for the far left in Seattle, which suffered setbacks in the general election last month when pro-business candidates won the mayor’s office and a seat on the council.
If Sawant is recalled, the other eight city council members will appoint a replacement until a special election next November.
Sawant was elected to city council in 2013, and her threat to launch a campaign initiative for an immediate minimum wage of $ 15 has been credited with pressuring business leaders and the then mayor. , Ed Murray, to reach an agreement raising the salary to $ 15 over a few years.
She lobbied to cut police funding and raise taxes on top earners like Amazon to pay for affordable housing, schools and community services.
But critics said it offered more rhetoric than substance and that its brash antics were incompatible with good governance. A federal appeals court recently ruled that two Seattle police officers could sue Sawant for libel after she said a fatal shooting they were involved in was “blatant murder.”
The recall question on the ballot cited a minor campaign finance violation that Sawant admitted to and paid a fine for. He also noted his alleged leadership of a protest march at the home of Mayor Jenny Durkan, even though Durkan’s address was protected by a state confidentiality law due to his previous work as a federal prosecutor. . The recall question also cites his decision to let a crowd of protesters enter Town Hall when it was closed due to the pandemic.
Sawant denies leading the march to Durkan’s house, although she did participate. She defended her decision to leave Black Lives Matter protesters inside City Hall after George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police.
For Sawant supporters, the accusations were a pretext for an effort by big business, developers and commercial real estate interests to try to overthrow a lawmaker who had opposed them.
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