Sawant leads in first-night primary count

Chamber-backed Egan Orion trailing by 9 percent

Sawant leads in first-night primary count

Sawant leads in first-night primary count

Updated Aug. 7:

A second day of primary ballot counts showed no major changes in the seven Seattle City Council races.

District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant stayed at 33.95 percent of the vote while Egan Orion went down a point to 23 percent.

Pat Murakami also went down a point, and Zachary DeWolf stayed at 12.65 percent, after 23,141 ballots were counted on Wednesday.

The King County Parks Levy is still passing by a wide margin at 68.38 percent approval.

A property tax levy renewal for the Seattle Public Library has also passed with 74.16 percent approval.

“It is clear that the people of Seattle understand the importance and value of a healthy Library system,” said Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner in a news release that dropped ahead of Wednesday’s updated count. “Investing in our libraries is an investment in every Seattle resident and the future of our city.”


Original article

Seattle City Council District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant took nearly 34 percent of primary votes in the first night of counting on Tuesday, trailed by chamber-backed challenger Egan Orion.

Orion, Seattle Pride organizer and Capitol Hill Chamber director, was one of five candidates challenging Sawant, and received nearly 24 percent of primary night votes.

Mount Baker business owner and South Seattle Crime Prevention Council president Pat Murakami received 14.2 percent on Tuesday. Zachary DeWolf, who ran for District 3 before finishing his first term on the Seattle School Board, and had the support of at-large Councilmembers Lorena González and Teresa Mosqueda, received 12.54 percent of the votes on Tuesday night.

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce backed Orion through its Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy political action committee.

CASE reported around $123,000 in independent expenditures in support of Orion’s campaign, the bulk of which was for canvassing, followed by about $10,000 in direct mailers.

Like most District 3 challengers, Orion used Seattle’s Democracy Voucher program to raise campaign funds, which has contribution limits. PACs can still support a candidate through unlimited independent expenditures. Orion recently defended campaign flyers posted in District 3 that state he doesn’t take corporate PAC money. CASE’s top-four contributors are Amazon, Vulcan, the Washington Association of Realtors and Expedia. Candidates were not considered for endorsement by the political action committee unless they sought it out, filling out a questionnaire and participating in a lengthy interview process.

“You can call the truth a lie but it doesn’t make it any less true and it’s clear I won’t persuade the unpersuadable,” Orion wrote in the comment section of a Seattle District 3 Facebook post.

Sawant declined to use the Democracy Voucher program out of concern for corporate influence in the District 3 race, the Socialist Alternative candidate continuing to push for taxing Amazon and other large companies in Seattle after the repeal of a head tax last year.

The only incumbent CASE endorsed was Debora Juarez in District 5, who received more than 42 percent of the primary vote on Tuesday.

If everything holds steady, all three incumbents running for re-election will advance to the general election.

District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold received nearly 48 percent of the vote on Tuesday, while CASE-endorsed challenger Phil Tavel pulled in nearly 34 percent.

A property tax levy renewal for the Seattle Public Library, which received a lot of attention for a promise to forgive late fees, was passing at 73 percent on Tuesday night. Library hours will also be expanded at certain branches and internet infrastructure upgraded, among other funding commitments over the next seven years.

The King County Parks Levy is passing at 67.25 percent, with 259,344 votes counted. It is expected to generate $738 million for parks, open spaces and trails over the next six years.

The big upset was for longtime District 2 King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, who was trailing challenger Girmay Zahilay, an attorney and nonprofit founder, 39.37 percent to 52.1 percent on Tuesday.

With only two candidates for King County Council District 4, incumbent Jeanne Kohl-Welles and transit advocate Abigail Doerr skipped the primary and automatically advance to the Nov. 5 general election.