Amazon spent a fortune to block a socialist candidate's re-election to Seattle city council; she won anyway

Former tech worker Kshama Sawant (previously) won an unprecedented victory in 2013 by running for Seattle city council as on the Socialist Alternative ticket, raising unprecedented sums in small-money donations, and then winning the election after a last-minute surge in the polls.

Seattle is a city dominated by a handful of giant corporations (Starbucks, Microsoft, Boeing, and, of course, Amazon) and has historically had a municipal government that put those companies' interests first, so Sawant's victory (and her subsequent re-election) was a huge change in Seattle politics — and Amazon was determined to change them back.

Amazon funnelled $1.5m through a Chamber of Commerce PAC that worked with the "Civic Alliance For A Sound Economy PAC," to back Sawant's opponent and other "business-friendly" candidates — an eye-popping sum that had climbed considerably since 2015, when Amazon only spent $130k on the city's elections.

Once again, Sawant came from behind to win her seat, a phenomenon she attributes to 1,000 doorbell-ringing volunteers. Sawant's losing opponent, Egan Orion, said that the Amazon money was "unnecessary" and "a distraction."

Four other candidates endorsed by the Civic Alliance For A Sound Economy also seemed set to lose. Phil Tavel, Heidi Wills, Mark Solomon and Jim Pugel trailed their opponents by at least 6%, with Solomon down by about 20%. Two candidates endorsed by the Pac, Alex Pedersen and Debora Juarez, had substantial leads.

A win for Sawant would give her a third term. She has been a fierce critic of the influence of big business on Seattle, and helped lead the push last year for the head tax, a per-employee tax on large corporations that was repealed a month after passing unanimously.

On Saturday, Sawant said she planned to continue her battle for a tax on big business. Orion does not support the head tax.

Blow to Amazon as Seattle socialist looks to have triumphed in key vote [Hallie Golden/The Guardian]

(via Naked Capitalism)