With only about 400 ballots left to tally across King County, election results have solidified, and six of seven candidates we endorsed along with a number of progressive groups prevailed–rather decisively. The one exception was Shaun Scott who lost a close race to Alex Pedersen, coming up 4.27 points short.
Not many people were predicting it would be as close as it was. Expectations were low for Scott. Despite Kshama Sawant repeatedly proving that a socialist can win a Seattle City Council race, many people–including many progressive operatives and groups–wrote Scott off. District 4 was different, we were led to believe. And the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America (Seattle DSA) couldn’t repeat Sawant’s Socialist Alternative magic.
Even the argument that the tide had turned citywide against pro-business moderate candidates given poor showings in the Primary didn’t get much traction. Pedersen did carry a 17-point lead from Primary results into the General election, but every other Seattle Times-endorsed Seattle City Council candidate started behind–and they failed to close that gap. It was the progressive candidates rather than the more conservative options that gained big.
Results as of November 13
- D1: Lisa Herbold (incumbent) 55.7% over Phil Tavel 43.9% (+9-point swing in margin from Election night)
- D2: Tammy Morales 60.4% over Mark Solomon 39.1% (+8-point swing from Election night)
- D3: Kshama Sawant (incumbent) 51.8% over Egan Orion 47.8% (+12-point swing from Election night)
- D4 Alex Pedersen 52.2% over Shaun Scott 47.6% (11-point swing from Election night)
- D5: Debora Juarez (incumbent) 60.6% over Ann Davison Sattler 39% (+6-swing from Election night)
- D6: Dan Strauss 55.6% over Heidi Wills 43.9% (+7-point swing from Election night)
- D7: Andrew Lewis 52.9% over Jim Pugel 46.6% (+7-point swing from Election night)
Socialism Is on the Rise, but Mainstream Media and Progressives Are Slow to Adjust
Expectations can be self-fulfilling prophecies. Mainstream media sources rarely suggested that Shaun Scott could win, whereas Egan Orion was constantly portrayed as ascendant–maybe even inevitable. Likewise, portrayals of Sawant as unresponsive, combative, and aloof were widely broadcast, but Alex Pedersen skipping dozens of forums and questionnaires–not to mention deleting his blog–was given passing mention if at all. It’s hard to win as a socialist, but Scott coming close should make it easier for the next socialist not named Sawant to win.