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Group hopes to have Kshama Sawant recall vote on August ballot

Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant. (City of Seattle)

On Thursday, the Washington Supreme Court allowed a petition seeking to recall Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant to move forward. With 180 days to gather signatures to put it on the ballot, Ernie Lou — who’s leading the effort — detailed the next steps for the campaign.

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Over that 180 period, Lou’s group must collect just over 10,700 certified paper signatures from registered voters in District 3, a number that would constitute 25% of total votes cast in the last election for the district’s council seat.

He’s setting an ambitious goal, looking to gather the requisite signatures in just 60 days, by sending targeted mailers to precincts within District 3 where Sawant’s 2019 opponent, Egan Orion, performed in the last District 3 council election.

The hope is to hit that goal in time to put the recall on the August primary ballot, after court delays pushed the group’s timeline out by months.

“We’re thinking August; we wanted to make the April ballot, but obviously that didn’t happen,” Lou told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show.

That’s a strategy driven both by the practical nature of gathering signatures from people who already voted against Sawant’s reelection, and concerns over face-to-face interactions during an ongoing pandemic.

“In COVID times are we’re not going to sit there and stand in front of QFC and Safeway and gather signatures,” Lou said.

As for how he plans to fund this effort, the Sawant Recall group has garnered nearly $294,000 in donations as of March 30, 31% of which have come from within District 3, with over 80% coming from within Seattle city limits.

Comparatively, 65% of the $426,518 raised by the “Kshama Solidarity Campaign” has come from outside Seattle, with just 16% from inside District 3.

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“She has been leveraging her left wing socialist community to raise money for her,” Lou opined.

Lou also sought to address accusations levied by Sawant’s solidarity campaign, which paints the recall as a “racist, right wing” effort.

“I’m a gay Asian-American that lives on Capitol Hill,” he noted. “They’re trying to paint me as this right wing person and I am the opposite of that. I support $15 minimum wage, I support the Green New Deal, I support Medicare For All — I am the opposite of a right wing conservative.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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