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John Batchelor

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Rantz: Kshama Sawant could become Seattle Mayor in 5 days

Kshama Sawant. (Seattle Channel)

Are you ready for this? It’s possible that Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant will become mayor of Seattle until the race between Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon is decided. Moreover, People’s Party mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver could become a council member.

RELATED: Mayoral candidates address Murray’s resignation

Now that Murray is set to resign on Wednesday at 5 p.m., Council President Bruce Harrell becomes interim mayor. He has five days to decide if he wants to keep the post, which, according to the City Attorney’s office, means he would have to vacate his council seat. He’s not indicated, as of yet, a willingness to do that. In fact, it seems like he won’t.

So what happens if Harrell says no? The council will choose another one of its members to serve as mayor until the election.

Oh, hello, Councilmember Sawant. She could be installed as mayor in days. She’s already been a mover and shaker on the council and is more responsible than Murray — or any of the other council — in the successful policy pushes on the minimum wage and secure scheduling. She’s shown that she can lead in a city where ideology seems to matter most.

But perhaps Sawant doesn’t want to give up her power as a council member. In fact, if she stays in her post, she may even grow in power and influence.

Odds are, retiring Councilmember Tim Burgess becomes acting mayor, vacating his seat early. Who might step up? Sawant and Councilmember Mike O’Brien ally Nikkita Oliver. She had their endorsement in the mayoral race and plays well into the council’s willingness to push ideas aside to check off the boxes signaling to the activist community that they’re one of them. Who better than the second runner up in the mayoral race; someone who has shown to have great support in the community?

Whatever happens, there is a high probability that the mayor resigning delivers the Socialist wing of the Progressive movement a lot more power in the city. It’s a bit of a thought exercise here, admittedly, but very much within the realm of possibility.

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