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Sawant Orion Seattle council race
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Sawant’s uphill climb to reelection is mess of her own making

Incumbent councilmember Kshama Sawant trailed in early returns. (AP)

District 3 Seattle council incumbent Kshama Sawant continues to close the gap between her and challenger Egan Orion as votes continue to roll in. Even if she beats the odds and wins, though, there’s a good reason why she ever had to stare down the barrel of a potential loss in the first place.

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“It’s not about the policies,” KIRO Nights co-host Gee Scott theorized. “But, man, at some point, get along with somebody.”

Sawant’s tenure in office has been defined by high profile clashes with everyone from her fellow councilmembers to Amazon, including one particularly controversial moment when she spoke out against Paul Allen less than 24 hours after his death.

That’s made her a polarizing political figure in Seattle, with policies that align well with her constituents on paper, and yet have alienated many in practice.

“I don’t mind passion and I don’t mind aggressiveness, but I have a problem when that crosses the line into demonizing or vilifying people that you don’t agree with,” said KIRO Nights co-host Aaron Mason.

As it stands right now, Sawant trails Orion by just 739 votes, after initial counts had her down by near-double-digit percentage points. With roughly 13,000 votes left to count in District 3, there’s a very real possibility Sawant completes her comeback, especially with the left-leaning propensity of late voters in past Seattle council elections.

If that happens, Mason hopes to see a higher level of discourse take hold in Seattle’s council chambers.

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“Put that energy into constructive conversations. We’re all trying to get better, and we’re all trying to move forward — we just have different ideas on how to do it,” he described. “I think people are growing more and more tired of people just yelling and fighting when yelling and fighting has gotten us nowhere.”

The next vote tallies arrive at 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Friday, so stay tuned as District 3’s race continues to develop.

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