Politics & Policy

Marxist Seattle Councilwoman Trails in Early Recall Results

Socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant restarts the “Tax Amazon” campaign she led in 2019 with a rally at Washington Hall in Seattle, Wash., January 13, 2020. (David Ryder/Reuters)

Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s open Marxist city councilwoman, was trailing in the first ballot drop of her recall election Tuesday night, with the six percentage-point margin expected to shrink as the remainder of the votes are tabulated until December 17.

With the votes of 41 percent of registered voters in Sawant’s City Council District 3 accounted for Tuesday, 53 percent said “yes” to ousting Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative party with multiple infractions under her belt. Per Washington law, elected officials can only be recalled for “malfeasance, misfeasance, or violation of their oath of office.”

If the recall succeeds, the council will select a replacement, who would remain in the post until the end of 2022. In November 2022, an election would take place to fill the role for the last year of Sawant’s four year term, followed by another general election in November 2023.

Despite Sawant’s insistence that the recall was motivated by far-right operatives in the Democratic bulwark of Seattle, the organizers say they’re disillusioned with her disregard for the law and radicalism that doesn’t resonate with the progressive base of the city.

Sawant faced three charges in the recall election. First, she allegedly broke the state’s COVID lockdown orders in June 2020 by letting protesters into City Hall for a rally. According to recall organizers, she effectively doxxed Mayor Jenny Durkan by directing a demonstration to her home address. And then she illegally used city funds to pay for her ballot initiative to tax the salaries of high paying tech employees in Silicon Valley.

“It’s not about her ideologies,” Henry Bridger II, the director of the recall campaign, told National Review in November. “District 3 is the most liberal district in Seattle, and Seattle is one of the most liberal cities in the nation. We are not focusing on ideologies. I hold some of those ideologies. So, it’s not about who she is, where she’s from, her skin color, her sex, or anything. It’s clearly holding a politician accountable for breaking the law.”

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