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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 18, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 38
43rd District Dems snub Pamela Banks, vote 'No Endorsement' in District 3 City Council race
Frontrunner Socialist Kshama Sawant barred from endorsement by Dem rules
Section One
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43rd District Dems snub Pamela Banks, vote 'No Endorsement' in District 3 City Council race
Frontrunner Socialist Kshama Sawant barred from endorsement by Dem rules

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Despite appeals from State Sen. Jamie Pedersen and from the candidate herself, the 43rd District Democratic Party organization refused to endorse Pamela Banks in her race for a City Council seat from District 3.

Instead, 49 out of the 89 votes cast at the group's September 14 meeting were for 'No Endorsement.'

The vote was a clear victory for incumbent City Council member Kshama Sawant, who is seeking re-election in the district that includes Capitol Hill and the Central District, as well as wealthier areas in Madison Park and Montlake.

Because Sawant is a member of the Socialist Alternative party and not a Democrat, she was barred from getting the Democratic group's endorsement, or even speaking at their meeting.

In her speech to the party organization, Banks made an overtly partisan appeal.

'We need a Democratic city council member, which I am, and [I] have been a lifelong Democrat,' she said. 'And I need your support. I need your endorsement to win this race.'

Pedersen, who represents the district in the state Senate, also asked the Democrats to vote for one of their own.

'As I was leaving the house tonight, [Pedersen's husband] Eric, who rarely has opinions on anything political, said 'You gotta tell those dang Democrats that they have to vote for the only Democrat in the race - otherwise, what's the point!' '

Nevertheless, the group's members rejected Banks for the second time. They had also voted 'No Endorsement' ahead of the primary election.

In the five-way primary contest, Sawant easily won a place on the general election ballot, with more than 52% of the votes, most of them coming from the Capitol Hill precincts that make up the heart of the 43rd Legislative District.

Banks came second with 34%, but her strength was in the upscale neighborhoods bordering Lake Washington.

Sawant is known for her advocacy of rent control, and she was one of the leaders of the 2014 campaign for a $15 minimum wage.

Banks, on the other hand, seems to be basing her campaign on the fact that she is not Sawant, stressing her mainstream political credentials.

Both candidates show a remarkable talent for fundraising, making the District 3 race the most expensive in the city, but they have raised their money from very different sources and they are spending their money in very different ways.

Sawant leads the fundraising race with $295,571, with Banks close behind at $260,473.

However, Banks has far fewer donors - less than half of Sawant's number - giving her much bigger checks. The average Sawant supporter has given her $117, while the average Banks funder has sent in $261.

Sawant, who is now a national figure because of her outspoken support for a $15 minimum wage, has raised nearly three times as much as Banks from donors outside Seattle. Public disclosure reports show that much of Sawant's expenditures have gone to printers, for the ubiquitous flyers posted on every light pole in District 3. In contrast, Banks's number one expense has been consulting fees for Democratic Party operative Christian Sinderman.

Banks also made heavy use of TV spots during the primary, while Sawant relied on flying squads of red-shirted volunteers canvassing door-to-door.

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Officer Whitlatch fired by SPD Chief O'Toole
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43rd District Dems snub Pamela Banks, vote 'No Endorsement' in District 3 City Council race
Frontrunner Socialist Kshama Sawant barred from endorsement by Dem rules

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