Recall campaign, Kshama Sawant dig in for lengthy battle over District 3
With a recall petition against Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant set to move forward into the signature-gathering phase, the two sides are preparing for what’s sure to be a months-long battle over the District 3 council seat.
Within 180 days, the recall campaign 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.
The group, led by District 3 resident Ernie Lou, says it’s targeting August’s primary to get the recall on the ballot, given that the vote is required to take place during a regularly scheduled election. On Saturday, Sawant held a rally in Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park, where she accused the group of purposefully avoiding the larger turnout afforded by November’s General Election.
“Their preference is for a low turnout, special election dominated by wealthy voters, and they make no bones about it,” she claimed.
Sawant also levied criticism against state courts for unfairly applying Washington’s recall standards. Over the last five months, courts have thrown out recall petitions against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza. In those cases, the state Supreme Court and the King County Superior Court ruled respectively that the allegations laid out in the recall petitions were legally insufficient.
“The hypocrisy is on every level breathtaking,” Sawant said. “… Washington state’s recall law is itself both profoundly undemocratic and unequally applied. It is well-suited for retaliation for working people’s representatives.”
“This gives Washington courts enormous leeway to use recall elections as a mechanism to defend the ruling class, greenlighting cases against the left, while dismissing charges against establishment politicians,” she continued.
Meanwhile, the District 3 councilmember and her supporters have collected contributions on behalf of the “Sawant Solidarity” group to the tune of over $426,000 as of March 30. Money has also flowed into the recall campaign, with Lou’s group gathering almost $294,000 in donations.
Last Friday, Lou detailed the recall campaign’s own plans moving forward, setting an ambitious goal of gathering 14,000 signatures, which would put it well above the 10,700 signature threshold needed to advance onto the ballot.
He hopes to accomplish that by sending targeted mailers to precincts within District 3 where Sawant’s 2019 opponent, Egan Orion, performed well in 2019’s District 3 council election. In September 2020, Orion also provided Lou’s group with a list of roughly 2,500 donor names, addresses, and employers at the recall campaign’s request.