Unusual recall election heats up for Seattle City Councilmember Sawant

SEATTLE — The battle to either recall or keep Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is heating up. The unusual election date of Dec. 7 had Sawant’s supporters rallying on Thanksgiving eve after the recall campaign released a scathing letter condemning the councilwoman.

“We are gathered here to say ‘no’ to the recall for Kshama Sawant!” said Rev. Angela Ying of the Bethany United Church of Christ.

Supporters spoke one after another about why Sawant should not be recalled Wednesday and denied race-based allegations in the letter from the recall campaign.

“She has consistently been very supportive of often unpopular causes that benefit poor and working people,” said Larry Gossett, a former King County councilmember.

“We want Sawant because she’s got the spunk to stand up and fight back for what’s right,” said Renée Gordan, another supporter.

But those who support the recall effort say what some call “spunk” has also been considered illegal activity.

“I think that Sawant should be recalled. I think she’s a divisive person, she’s not a leader of our community. She pulls people apart instead of together and I’m not happy with her malfeasance,” said Benj Pollock, who supports the recall effort.

The Recall Sawant campaign moved forward on charges that:

  • Sawant inappropriately used city resources for her “Tax Amazon” initiative, violating state law.
  • She let hundreds of protestors into City Hall for a rally last year, violating state COVID-19 restriction orders.
  • The campaign accuses Sawant of leading a march to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s home, though Sawant has said she only participated and did not lead the protest.

“It’s about holding a person accountable for breaking the law. We are all responsible for our actions. She broke the law, it’s plain and simple,” said Henry Bridger II, the campaign manager for Recall Sawant.

The recall effort also pointed out that out much of the Kshama Solidary campaign’s money is coming from outside Seattle.

“She has to go out of state to get support,” Bridger said.

KIRO7′s Deedee Sun examined Kshama Solidarity’s public campaign finance data and found as of Nov 24, about 46% of contributions came from outside of Washington.

The recall effort’s finances are 98.5 percent from in-state contributions.

But Sawant’s supporters say they have raised more money from Seattle’s District 3, Sawant’s district, than people who want her gone. They also add that money from outside of Seattle is not a problem.

“From a barista in Boston to a carpenter in Ohio, there is support for us in every single corner of this massive country, every corner of the city, and throughout this district,” said Varun Belur, a Kshama Solidarity volunteer.