by Amy Hagopian
On Monday, May 20, the 37th District Democratic Party organization will hold its primary endorsement meeting to decide which candidates to back in the Seattle City Council races for the ballots due on August 6, 2019.
It’s a crowded field for the central area’s Seattle City Council seat, District 3.
Kshama Sawant is the incumbent, an economist who previously taught at Seattle University and SCC before winning a seat on city council in 2013. She has led an aggressive campaign to push Seattle politics to left. She is perhaps best known for one of her first efforts — passing a historic city ordinance to gain a $15 minimum wage for all city workers.
Sawant’s primary opponents include Pat Murakami (president of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council), Logan Bowers (a software engineer, formerly with Microsoft and Amazon, who runs a pot store in Fremont), Ami Nguyen (a Seattle Public Defender and member of SEIU 925), Egan Orion (head of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce) and Zachary DeWolf (current Seattle school board member).
Sunday’s Seattle Times ran a feature headlined “Seattle’s Business Lobby Sees Opportunity to Unseat the City Council’s Progressive Majority.” The article outlines the aggressive plans of Jeff Bezos and the Chamber of Commerce to unseat Sawant and Lisa Herbold and win a City Council majority for big business. Amazon has already donated $200,000 to the Chamber’s PAC, a corporate war chest now at $702,277 and expected to grow substantially in the weeks ahead. The article suggests Jeff Bezos is prepared to spend substantially more to expand his already outsized influence over City Hall.
The 37th District Democratic Party’s bylaws do not allow the party to endorse candidates who are not Democrats, preventing Sawant from receiving an endorsement at Monday’s meeting. Sawant is a member of the Socialist Alternative party.
I’m a Democratic Party precinct committee officer in Squire Park and have encouraged my fellow Democrats to change this practice of endorsing only party candidates and consider third-party candidates or, if that is not possible, to make a “no endorsement” stand if the party candidates are unable to stand up to the Chamber and Jeff Bezos. The city council needs a left-wing anchor to show the rest of the members where the goal post is. No other district will send such a candidate.
The endorsement meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. (May 20) at the Ethiopian Community Center at 8323 Rainier Ave. S. It promises to be a lively event, but only members of the party can vote (and memberships had to be secured by April 25).
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