DAVE ROSS

The fallout of Amazon’s $1.4 million bid to flip Seattle City Council

Nov 6, 2019, 1:31 PM | Updated: Nov 7, 2019, 10:39 am
Amazon, Seattle City Council election...
Amazon poured over $1.4 million into 2019's Seattle City Council election. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Amazon caught flack for contributing over $1.4 million to the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), in an effort to influence Seattle’s council races. Now that election results are in, though, did the company — and CASE — get their money’s worth?

Mixed bag, razor thin races in early results for Seattle City Council

CASE operates as the political arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. As of Tuesday night’s vote tally, four out of seven CASE-endorsed council candidates were leading: District 5’s Debora Juarez, District 4’s Alex Pedersen, District 3’s Egan Orion, and District 7’s Jim Pugel (albeit by a slim a 20-vote margin).

If Lewis closes the gap against Pugel, that would leave just three out of CASE’s seven candidates sitting on the dais in 2020, a result that could be considered disappointing, given that CASE took in over $3 million in total contributions this election cycle.

“This is not a city council that the Chamber and Amazon wanted or expected to see after (their) investment,” Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “… they’re not seeing the results that they hoped to see as a result of that astronomical amount of corporate spending these elections.”

If Lewis ends up winning in District 7 (and all other results hold), 2020’s council would look like this:

  • District 1: Lisa Herbold
  • District 2: Tammy Morales
  • District 3: Egan Orion
  • District 4: Alex Pedersen
  • District 5: Debora Juarez
  • District 6: Dan Strauss
  • District 7: Andrew Lewis
  • At-large: Lorena Gonzalez
  • At-large: Teresa Mosqueda

As Gonzalez points out, that’s a roster that largely leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum, despite the inroads — and significant financial investments — made by CASE and Amazon.

“What we’re seeing is that the two out of the three incumbents are coming out ahead in spite of that spending,” she noted. “And the early results are showing us that we will continue to have a strong progressive city council.”

Check out the latest election results

The first round of results didn’t see CASE proclaiming victory either, after issuing a statement that can be summed up with a definitive, “we’ll see.”

“(Tuesday)’s initial returns are not definitive enough to call these close races,” said CASE president and CEO Marilyn Strickland. “We know from our polling that voters want more solutions and less ideology from council members. We are looking forward to the next ballot count (Wednesday) afternoon.”

That Wednesday count saw Orion solidify his lead against incumbent Kshama Sawant, but it also saw Pugel’s lead over Lewis shrink from over 200 votes to just 12. The next round of results arrives at 4 p.m. Thursday, so stay tuned.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

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The fallout of Amazon’s $1.4 million bid to flip Seattle City Council