Bernie Sanders on Seattle council races: Amazon ‘should have kept their money’
After progressive candidates achieved a near sweep in Seattle’s City Council elections, 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is weighing in, again directing some pointed words toward Amazon.
“Jeff Bezos and Amazon spent $1.5 million to defeat progressives like (Kshama Sawant),” Sanders said on Twitter. “They should have kept their money.”
Sawant recently declared victory after initial counts had her trailing District 3 challenger Egan Orion by as many as eight points. Subsequent counts saw her close that gap, before decisively overtaking Orion.
In the lead-up to Seattle’s November general election, corporate donations poured into the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), the political arm of the city’s Chamber of Commerce. That included contributions from Amazon, Starbucks, and Expedia in a bid to elect more moderate, business-friendly candidates.
Those efforts were widely panned by both Sanders and fellow 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, with the former going so far as to formally endorse a quartet of progressive council candidates in Lisa Herbold, Tammy Morales, Kshama Sawant, and Shaun Scott.
Among those four, three ended up winning their respective races. CASE-backed candidate Alex Pedersen is currently leading Scott in District 4, one of just two endorsed by the organization to potentially win a seat (the other being incumbent Debora Juarez).
“The people of Seattle want leaders who will fight to end corporate greed, to make big corporations pay their fair share and for affordable housing,” said Sanders.
Sanders has long been critical of corporate interests asserting influence over elections, but chose Seattle’s own hotly-contested council campaigns to weigh in on out of the many local races taking place across the U.S. last Tuesday.
CASE-endorsed candidates made it out of the August primaries in all seven council districts in Seattle. Leading up to the primary, it had spent nearly three times more than the next highest-spending independent political action committee, taking in over $3 million in contributions.
Meanwhile, efforts to curb future corporate spending in elections are already underway in Seattle, in the form of a proposal from Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez.