Gee & Ursula: Thin margins in Sawant recall show Seattleites have ‘had enough’

Dec 9, 2021, 2:45 PM | Updated: 4:55 pm
elections, recall...
Buttons saying "I voted" in Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Mandarin at King County Elections headquarters. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

The effort to recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has a less than 250 vote lead after Wednesday’s ballot count.

Gap narrows in attempt to recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant

The Socialist city councilmember got 62% of the votes that were counted in the latest round, which is something she predicted would happen on Tuesday night.

“While we cannot be sure of the final results, if past trends hold, it appears working people may have prevailed in this fight,” Sawant said.

There are about 1,200 more votes to count and about 650 ballots with outstanding signature challenges that could be added to the vote count as late as Dec. 16.

“Of course, as you remember, Kshama Sawant was also behind 8% on election night, and she still ended up winning by nearly 4%,” KIRO Radio host Ursula Reutin reported.

“I was right and wrong about this whole thing,” host Gee Scott said. “I was right about the fact that you can not count Kshama Sawant out. I said she’s like Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter. I’m telling you, she makes a comeback every single time.”

“But what I was wrong about was the voter turnout. Over 41,000 people voted in this election,” he said.

What stood out to Gee in looking at the return statistics was the breakdown of ballots by age. The group that returned the most ballots in this race were residents aged 25-34 with over 10,000 votes, followed by the age group of 65 and older at 8,000.

“Remember there used to be a time that we would say that these youngsters don’t vote, the Gen Zs of the world don’t vote? They vote now,” Gee said.

Late tallies likely to take Kshama Sawant recall vote down to the wire

This was only an election for District 3 residents, as Ursula noted, which covers the Capitol Hill area where many of the younger people in Seattle live, and with whom Sawant tends to be popular.

“Some of the more mature and older folks who live in that district, they tend to be more moderate,” Ursula said. “So they would be the ones that would generally support the recall.”

“Everyone thinks, ‘OK, the scam is in and somehow these votes’ — I even felt that way, to some degree. But the reality is the younger people do end up voting later,” she continued. “Even if it doesn’t go the way that I want, I’m not going to scream voter fraud or anything like that. However, I do believe there’s a good chance that she does pull it off again. That would be a bummer for me and for many others who want this recall to be successful, but I’m not going to take a doomsday approach to that possibility.”

Ursula thinks what happened with the November election and in this recall election should be a wake-up call for those on the council “who would often bow down to Kshama Sawant’s ways and they would vote as a pack.”

She referenced Teresa Mosqueda’s run for re-election against Kenneth Wilson, “someone who no one even knew, had zero political background, and he was able to mount a pretty good fight.”

“I think it should be a message to them that so many of us in the city of Seattle have had enough. It’s not just people who live outside the city who are saying we’ve had enough, it’s people who live within the city,” she said. “So we’ve got a new mayor coming in, a more moderate councilmember coming in, Sara Nelson, a more moderate city attorney going to be in that office.”

“There’s too much at stake right now for us not to care and for us not to continue taking baby steps,” she added. “So for anyone who feels down that she might not be booted out of office, I say no matter what happens, it is positive. Again, I’m not hiding any feelings here, I hope that she would be on her way out, but if it doesn’t turn out that way, I still think there is a positive to be seen.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Gee & Ursula: Thin margins in Sawant recall show Seattleites have ‘had enough’