Election 2013: Sawant passes Conlin in City Council race

(Added: Seattle Times photo by Greg Gilbert, republished with permission)
4:23 PM: The newest ballot count is just in from King County Elections, and the race that has had the city on the edge of its election-watching seat has continued going the challenger’s way: Kshama Sawant now leads incumbent Richard Conlin in the Seattle City Council Position 2 race. Numbers here – 79,751 for Sawant, 79,710 for Conlin:

4:41 PM: If you haven’t been paying close attention, Sawant is a community-college economics teacher who ran as a Socialist. If she wins, she will be the first Socialist member of the Seattle City Council; she would be the fourth woman and second person of color on the current council. She would have to run again in 2015 because of Seattle Charter Amendment 19, which won in a landslide, setting up elections by district for seven of the council’s nine seats, including the creation of West Seattle’s District 1. (A Facebook group is already active for discussing ramifications – find it here.)

Meantime, the numbers from the next batch of ballots will be announced tomorrow around 4:30 pm. As our partners at The Seattle Times note, Sawant had 46 percent of the vote on Election Night, but has been closing the gap daily ever since.

51 Replies to "Election 2013: Sawant passes Conlin in City Council race"

  • JoB November 12, 2013 (4:27 pm)

    wow.. just wow.

  • Diane November 12, 2013 (4:42 pm)

    yay yay yay yay yay

  • TanDL November 12, 2013 (4:50 pm)

    Ditto… Wow!

  • Dave November 12, 2013 (4:54 pm)

    This is awesome, maybe Seattle can start to act like the progressive city the majority of us want it to be!

  • Jim P. November 12, 2013 (4:58 pm)

    Pity. She was one of the multitude of politicians who decided her wishes were more important than the privacy of strangers and used robocalls many times to my number with caller-id faked and no way to return the call and tell her to stop.

    I imagine her politics will reflect a similar “”bleep” the citizens and their privacy, I know what’s best”. attitude.

  • onion November 12, 2013 (5:05 pm)

    Dang. Conlin has always been a voice of common sense and reason to balance against Mayor Hothead. We’re rather progressive as it is, Dave. I see Sawant as a flamethrower rather than a true let’s get things done type of council member. I hope I’m wrong.

  • boy November 12, 2013 (5:10 pm)

    I would like to think that people in seattle don,t want to be a socialist. Dave

  • bada-bing November 12, 2013 (5:26 pm)

    There have been more than one previous persons of color on the Seattle City Council. I presume you are referring to Norm Rice, whom I believe is the only African-American ever to serve on the Council. Asians are considered “persons of color” as well (Charlie Chong, Wing Luke, and Bruce Harrell come to mind).

    • WSB November 12, 2013 (5:33 pm)

      I wrote *on the current council*, not historically. Right now Bruce Harrell is the only person of color on the council; if Sawant joins the current lineup, she would be the second on the current council. Of course there have been others historically.

  • al November 12, 2013 (5:30 pm)

    I’m very excited about this turn of events. I could care less about what party Sawant identifies herself, I just like her policy positions and am sick of Conlin’s terrible agenda for Seattle’s transit issues.

  • JayDee November 12, 2013 (5:40 pm)

    I think the reality of serving on the council will show her the real world. Conlin had served four terms–enough. Time to let someone other than gray haired white people serve the city. (I am a gray haired white guy, full disclosure). I am confident she will be good for us, or I wouldn’t have voted for her.

  • villagegreen November 12, 2013 (5:48 pm)

    Holy sh*t! I thought it was pretty boneheaded for people to vote for the districting, but not the public financing. At least we’re getting this one right. Just when I start to lose faith in this city it surprises me.

  • Dave November 12, 2013 (6:13 pm)

    By right-wing standards I guess we are progressive onion but I hold myself to a higher standard.

  • cj November 12, 2013 (6:17 pm)

    I hope she wins , we could really use someone with good intentions to shake up the Seattle rat pack.

  • Neighbor November 12, 2013 (6:25 pm)

    This is a wonderful turn of events. I hope she can do grand things or at least change some direction for good on the council. I am realistic though that she is one voice. Crossing my fingers! People power works!

  • let them swim November 12, 2013 (6:25 pm)

    Sam Smith was a hell of a good coucilmen.

  • onion November 12, 2013 (6:30 pm)

    I get the patronizing note, Dave. But a city has to function for everyone. I and a lot of other people were tired of Mcginn imposing his vision on us, just as people rejected Nickles’ vision — and I still like and would support Nickles. But people want a city that works, and I think Conlin gets that more than Sawant.

  • Wes Cider November 12, 2013 (6:45 pm)

    I didn’t vote for any of the council races because I thought the incumbents would win.

  • Seattlite November 12, 2013 (7:12 pm)

    Sawant is just another socialist who keeps people dependent on government handouts instead of lifting people to be independent of government and self-sufficient. Higher taxes for those of us who still have the initiative to work for a living is on the horizon. Note: Conlin started as a Green Party progressive. I didn’t vote for either one.

  • DP November 12, 2013 (7:17 pm)

    Pleasant news!

  • JK November 12, 2013 (7:47 pm)

    Check that your ballot was counted:

  • wscommuter November 12, 2013 (7:55 pm)

    Although I voted for Conlin, whom I see as a voice of reason, I suspect Sawant will be harmless at worst. If she is true to her socialist vision of the world, she’ll be alone on an island for 4 years and then be voted out. Notwithstanding her prime constituency, which is the Stranger crowd (think: whining, self-absorbed urban hipsters), Seattle is liberal, but not stupid (hence why we got rid of McGinn). Socialism is, to be unkind, not very intelligent political philosophy, especially at the local level. Extremism, whether far right or far left, is usually pretty stupid at its roots.

    However, clearly she is a very bright woman with talent. If she figures out that governing in the real world is more complicated and nuanced than socialist dogma would suggest, then perhaps she’ll develop into a genuine progressive voice who is part of finding solutions. I hope so, and if she wins, I’ll wish her the best.

  • hj November 12, 2013 (8:40 pm)

    I voted for Sawant not because I agree with her style 100%, but because I think the council is clearly too comfortable with itself and needs to be shaken up a little. Not even anything against Conlin… he just happened to be on the wrong side of the candidate with the best chance to win. I’m a little disappointed that we’re still talking about “person of color”; I thought that we were past that. I didn’t even know what color the others were until I read that.

    • WSB November 12, 2013 (8:42 pm)

      HJ – I would like to think we are post-gender, post-race, post-sexual-orientation, but I don’t believe that we are quite yet. Eventually it will no longer be remarkable. P.S. The council is technically nonpartisan and I also hope we get to a post-party era someday!!!! – Tracy

  • JanS November 12, 2013 (9:08 pm)

    wscommuter, you’d be very surprised. I am a 66 yo woman, I do not read the Stranger, and I am far, far from being a ” whining, self-absorbed urban hipster”. I and many people around my age voted for Ms. Sawant. We need a change. Sixteen years as a councilperson is enough. Mr. Conlin needed to go. Ms. Sawant is a breath of fresh air against the same ol’, same ol’. Mr. Conlin never met a developer he didn’t like. As you go around West Seattle and see all the new builds that will be choking WS transportation, remember that.

  • JanS November 12, 2013 (9:11 pm)

    Tracy, I agree. Many of us are so tired of the “us vs. them” war that seems to be what runs our gov’t., both state and nationally.

  • buckwheat November 12, 2013 (9:23 pm)

    I thought all of the city council members were already socialists?

  • Michael November 12, 2013 (9:52 pm)

    Well said. I agree. I believe Hitler was a Socialist.

  • McBride November 12, 2013 (10:08 pm)

    Pretty sure Hitler was a Nazi.

  • 56bricks November 12, 2013 (10:15 pm)

    Socialism works great until you run out of other people’s money to spend. Margaret Thatcher

  • onion November 12, 2013 (10:19 pm)

    Michael, do you realize that dictators and psychopaths come in all political forms?

  • Dale November 12, 2013 (10:29 pm)

    @wscommuter…love your comments.

  • pupsarebest November 12, 2013 (10:49 pm)

    What an absurd, ridiculous and irrelevant observation.

  • BW November 12, 2013 (11:23 pm)


    Even if you’re gray-haired and white, it’s foolish to criticize Conlin based on his skin and hair color.

    If you think he’s complacent, or whatever, then go that route. Or call out something he’s actually done (or failed to do) while in office.

    You see, when you call out ‘old white people’ or ‘white men’ or whatever, you’re saying it’s OK to pick on one group based on their appearance, but not OK to pick on another. I guess you’re using history to justify it, but it still doesn’t work. Imagine if the election swung the other way and someone said “Oh, good, I’m glad we didn’t end up with a brown-haired, brown skinned woman on the Council!”

    Pretty offensive, eh?

    It just divides people further.

    And just for that I’m not revealing my color, gender, attire, shoe size, density of nose hair, or any other inconsequential detail about myself.

    But I generally vote Democrat, if that matters.

  • Seattlite November 12, 2013 (11:24 pm)

    Michael — Hitler was a fascist who believed in totalitarism…with an added dash of socialism thrown in creating a toxic stew of radical thinking and governing…

    buckwheat — lol.

  • GJP2013 November 13, 2013 (9:17 am)

    Great news – especially since Conlin chairs the Development Committee for the Seattle Council and has not been listening to folks on these issues, especially in West Seattle. Folks, a “Socialist” is merely a very liberal/progressive Democrat that believes we need to implement a social contract that takes care of all. Many Asian (Japan, Taiwan, etc.) and European countries (UK, France, Sweden, etc.), as well as Canada, would be considered Socialist Democracies. Let’s stop playing on fears.

  • colleen November 13, 2013 (10:04 am)

    This is terrific news! And Hitler was not a ‘socialist’. I swear, fox propaganda is rotting what small brains the far right have remaining….

  • Seattlite November 13, 2013 (10:34 am)

    GJP2013 — No one is “playing on fear” but just stating facts. UK’s and France’s taxes are 60% to 75% to support their socialist governments. Health care in UK, Canada, France is about waiting months to see a specialist. That’s why people (who can afford it) from these countries who have special needs medical problems find their way to USA for medical treatment. Based on what’s going on in USA re health ins, dr shortage, etc., I don’t know if that will be an option in the future.

  • ryan November 13, 2013 (10:41 am)

    Every vote counts, always!

  • bada-bing November 13, 2013 (10:44 am)

    WSB, thank you for pointing out that your comment was regarding the current council. I regret the error.

    • WSB November 13, 2013 (11:01 am)

      Ryan – on the WSB FB page, a commenter mentioned that he was using this as a teaching moment for a teenager regarding why every vote counts, and as I replied, same goes here. I was personally so excited to turn 18 and get the right to vote, I think I registered on my birthday, and all but sprinted to the polling place for the first possible election afterward – some sort of “small” special election (we lived in Las Vegas at the time), but times are different now and cynicism runs high … TR

  • HelperMonkey November 13, 2013 (10:53 am)

    nothing like drooling morons Godwinning a thread in record time….

  • Marty S November 13, 2013 (11:35 am)

    You beat me to it Helper! 28 comments in, much quicker than normal.

  • LivesInWS November 13, 2013 (11:37 am)

    Funny how the socialist countries have better standards of living, longer life, better indices of health than the U.S.A. And Thatcher was chagrined to find out that the most efficient way to cover healthcare for all was through the general tax. Yep, 3rd parties add cost.

    Congrats Sawant!

  • Danna Pakulak November 13, 2013 (1:13 pm)

    Congrats to Swant. She is someone who has worked hard to earn this. I encountered her at many a strike picket line, and to me that says something: that she is for everyday, walk of life people. I don’t recall seeing very many other politicians out there talking to strikers and helping to support those souls on strike.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident November 13, 2013 (2:17 pm)

    Socialist countries have a higher standard of living than the US???
    That would be news to those living in Cuba, Venezuela, China, Vietnam, Angola…etc.

  • Jeffrey November 13, 2013 (3:05 pm)

    Congrats? For what? Having a slight lead?

    What a laugh.

    Funnier still is the bit about socialist countries.

    Clearly a case of “this is what I believe, never mind the facts”.

    Hilarious! Please keep spewing the humor. It is appreciated.

    Ah the folly of us self-important humans provides a steady source of humor and proves that stupidity is easily sustainable, in fact it may be our greatest sustainable resource, or at the very least it gives apathy a run for its money.

    I hope Sawant is voted in. If nothing else it will be entertaining.

  • Joe November 13, 2013 (3:56 pm)

    Didn’t all the refugees from socialist countries who risked their lives and left everything behind teach us anything? Socialism has been a dismal, inhumane failure all over the world. Maybe she’ll build a wall around the city with land mines, barbed wire, and guard towers?

  • Seattlite November 13, 2013 (4:43 pm)

    Joe == Right on.

  • wsdad November 13, 2013 (6:29 pm)

    PEOPLEā€¦This Woman is a socialist..Do you really understand that..USSR..How soon we forget

  • w.s. maverick November 14, 2013 (5:51 am)

    goodbye seattle hello canada. I can’t believe people actually voted for her

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