Kshama Sawant speaks at a rally for Bernie Sanders
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant speaks at a February 2020 pre-pandemic rally for Bernie Sanders at the Tacoma Dome (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Social­ist icon Kshama Sawant came from behind to win in not one, but two out of her three suc­cess­ful bids for Seat­tle City Coun­cil in the 2010s.

Now, fol­low­ing a sec­ond favor­able drop pub­lished this after­noon, it appears that she’s done it again. Sawant is on the verge of defeat­ing a right wing backed cam­paign to recall her from office, which means she will remain the Seat­tle City Coun­cil’s most senior mem­ber and win a fourth con­sec­u­tive elec­tion in Seattle.

With 40,629 bal­lots now count­ed, Sawan­t’s posi­tion (Recall No) has a slim two hun­dred and thir­ty-two vote lead, not unlike the small two hun­dred and forty-six vote lead that the pro-recall camp had yesterday.

How­ev­er, unlike that lead, Sawan­t’s is like­ly to stick.

King Coun­ty Elec­tions does­n’t list any bal­lots as await­ing tab­u­la­tion, which means that we’re down to a trick­le of incom­ing ballots.

That just leaves the chal­lenged bal­lots (as of this evening, there were 591 bal­lots with sig­na­ture chal­lenges that still need­ed to be resolved) and Sawant is backed by the best bal­lot cur­ing oper­a­tion around these parts.

Sawant won an impres­sive 67.3% of the bal­lots in today’s bal­lot drop. That is even bet­ter than Sawan­t’s per­for­mance in yes­ter­day’s drop. And those chal­lenged bal­lots aren’t going to swing the out­come. “Even if they were all cured, Yes would have to win 70% of them to take the lead, when in fact they’re like­ly more than 60%-40% No,” Civic Ven­tures’ David Gold­stein point­ed out this after­noon.

While we can’t say with total cer­tain­ty that Sawant has won yet, we do feel com­fort­able pro­ject­ing that a Sawant vic­to­ry is the most like­ly outcome.

If Sawant pre­vails when the recall is cer­ti­fied, it will be her fourth straight vic­to­ry in a city-lev­el elec­tion… and her nar­row­est yet. Here’s how the recall com­pares to the oth­er times Sawant has been on the ballot:

Yes­ter­day, as the pro-recall camp was los­ing ground, The Seat­tle Times report­ed some of recall orga­niz­er Hen­ry Bridger II’s com­ments from Elec­tion Night:

Recall Sawant cam­paign man­ag­er and chair Hen­ry Bridger II, who also wasn’t avail­able for com­ment Wednes­day, said Tues­day night he was not wor­ried about the bal­lot-count­ing results skew­ing toward Sawant as the count goes on because he believed the ini­tial results are the sen­ti­ment of the district.

Here’s what we had to say about that:


The impli­ca­tion of this state­ment is that some peo­ple’s votes mat­ter while oth­er peo­ple’s votes don’t. Wrong.

This is not that far off from the non­sense we hear from the Trump camp about how we should stop count­ing bal­lots on Elec­tion Night (so long as they’re ahead, of course!)

Every vote counts, and this recall is once again demon­strat­ing that. The ini­tial results were par­tial and incomplete.

And not even the offi­cial, cer­ti­fied results will tell us how all the vot­ers col­lec­tive­ly feel because we won’t get to 100% turnout.

Any­one can engage in this kind of cherry-picking.

Hen­ry Bridger log­ic: Today’s results cap­tured the “sen­ti­ment of the dis­trict.” They demon­strate that Sawant is mas­sive­ly beloved by her con­stituents. Look at all of the D3 vot­ers who turned out to sup­port her in the final hours!

Bridger did not have any com­ment on today’s lead flip either; Sarah Grace Tay­lor report­ed that no reac­tion was offered when she reached out for a state­ment. That’s just as well: we’d prob­a­bly have got­ten anoth­er vari­a­tion of yes­ter­day’s non­sen­si­cal dec­la­ra­tion that the “ini­tial results are the sen­ti­ment of the district.”

NPI does not endorse can­di­dates or engage in elec­tion­eer­ing for or against any can­di­date. Accord­ing­ly, we had no posi­tion on the Sawant recall and were not involved in either the Recall Yes or the Recall No campaigns.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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