- The Washington Times
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

With returns still being counted, the recall election of Seattle’s openly socialist city council member shows “yes” votes in the lead.

On Tuesday night, votes in favor of removing District 3 council member Kshama Sawant were leading those voting to keep her by a 53.1% to 46.9% margin.

Ms. Sawant’s recall election, unanimously approved by the state supreme court last April, rested on three charges, some stemming from the tumultuous protests that erupted in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood last year.

During the Capitol Hill Organized Protest — known as the “CHOP” protest — Ms. Sawant opened City Hall at night to thousands of protesters, a move recall supporters said was both illegal and unwise during the COVID pandemic.

At the close of the CHOP protests last July, Ms. Sawant was also accused of leading a march of protesters to the home of Mayor Jenny Durkan. While Ms. Sawant acknowledged participating in the march and speaking outside Ms. Durkan’s home, she said she played no role in leading the protest.

Finally, Ms. Sawant acknowledged she had spent some $2,000 of her money improperly in support of a ballot initiative that sought to hit Amazon with additional taxes. She paid a fine of more than $3,000 as a result of her actions.

Ms. Sawant’s office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday, although she did speak to supporters Tuesday night when initial results for her council future looked glum.

“The initial election results have been reported,” she told the crowd, according to accounts from her Socialist Alternative party. “At present, as you all know, the vote against the right wing is 46.9%. And the vote for the recall is 53.1%. In every one of our elections, there has been a dramatic swing after election night in our direction.”

If the final count shows Ms. Sawant has been recalled, a replacement would be appointed by the city council and an election for the District 3 seat would be held next November.

Ms. Sawant, an avowed Trotskyist, is one of the most prominent openly socialist politicians in the U.S., and she has been a force on the city council since she took her seat in 2014. She is regarded as one of the driving forces behind the successful movement to boost the minimum wage in Seattle to $15, one of the first U.S. cities to do so.

While she enjoyed support from some leftist media outlets in Seattle, the city’s largest newspaper, the Seattle Times, urged voters to approve her recall.

• James Varney can be reached at jvarney@washingtontimes.com.

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