Socialist Sawant Takes Lead Over Conlin in Seattle Council Race

Nov 12, 2013

A Socialist candidate has taken the lead as an updated ballot count was released on Tuesday afternoon in a close Seattle City Council race.

Kshama Sawant initially trailed incumbent Richard Conlin by more than 6,000 votes, but is now leading by about 40 votes—79,751 to 79,710.

“I think the results that we got today confirm that people in Seattle and, indeed, everywhere in the country are actually eager and hungry for a big political shift,” Sawant said Tuesday.

Sawant is a former software engineer and economist who made a proposed $15 an hour minimum wage the centerpiece of her campaign. She said her campaign’s “emphatic support” of a higher minimum wage succeeded in shaping the discussion this election season.

“Our campaign, along with the fast food workers’ movement, was able to challenge the business-as-usual candidates to shift their focus and actually talk about $15 an hour,” she said. “What we’ve already accomplished during the campaign is an indication of what we can accomplish going forward.”

The next count of ballots for elections in King County will be released at 4:30 on Wednesday.

More mail-in ballots may be counted before election results are certified Nov. 26.

Conlin is seeking his fifth term on the city council.

Council races in Seattle are non-partisan but Sawant won a court decision to list her Socialist preference on the November ballot.