by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
Amazon wasted more than $1 million on Seattle's City Council election. That's the inescapable conclusion as the SGN goes to press after three days of ballot counting.
Amazon's number one target, District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant, now trails her opponent, Egan Orion, by only 739 votes after lagging behind by almost 2,000 on election night. Late voters - who are historically younger, poorer, and more progressive than early voters - have broken decisively for Sawant.
If Sawant gets a similar share of the ballots yet to be counted, she will win reelection. In her first go at the City Council in 2013, she trailed incumbent Richard Conlin for several days before catching up and finally winning the seat by 1,640 votes.
Lisa Herbold, arguably Amazon's number two target, leads Amazon-backed Phil Tavel by 1,848 votes for reelection to her District 1 seat. Herbold has been ahead since election night.
In District 2, labor activist Tammy Morales is also leading Amazon's candidate, Mark Solomon, by 2,885 votes.
In District 6, Dan Strauss is riding his union endorsements to a win over former one-term City Council member Heidi Wills. Strauss now holds a 2,374-vote lead over Wills. Her previous political career crashed and burned in 2003 when she was caught taking campaign contributions from reputed mobsters in exchange for a favorable vote on a zoning variance for their strip club. This year she was backed by Amazon rather than gangsters.
In District 7, union-endorsed Andrew Lewis now leads Amazon-backed former police chief Jim Pugel by 365 votes after trailing by 202 on election night.
Debra Juarez, the District 5 incumbent, was endorsed both by labor unions and Amazon. She was always expected to win reelection, and she currently leads her opponent, anti-density activist Ann Sattler, by 4,251 votes.
The only casualty of Amazon's spending spree was Shaun Scott in District 4, who trails business-friendly Alex Pedersen by 2,371 votes.
Farewell, Larry Gossett
The other significant election news is the apparent end of Larry Gossett's long and historic political career.
Gossett fought back from a disastrous showing in the August primary, in which political newcomer Girmay Zahilay beat him by almost two-to-one, but he has still fallen short. He currently trails Zahilay by 8,704 votes.
Gossett, a Black Panther and founder of the Black Student Union in his youth, was first elected to the County Council in 1993. Since then, he's been reelected seven times, never getting less than 80% of the general-election vote in a district that includes the University District, Capitol Hill, the Central District, and Southeast Seattle.
Zahilay, an immigrant from Ethiopia via Sudan, grew up in Seattle's public housing before attending Stanford University and University of Pennsylvania Law School. Zahilay raised more money than any candidate for the County Council, and about $17,000 more than Gossett.
Federal Way gives renters rights
Meanwhile, voters in Federal Way are passing Initiative 19-001, aimed at ensuring fair rights for renters in Federal Way, in early election results.
Approximately 55% of residents voted in favor of the measure, while about 45% voted against it, according to preliminary King County Elections results.
If it passes, the measure would require landlords to prove just cause for evicting tenants, ensure that family members may live together, bar retaliatory evictions, and protect members of the military, first responders, seniors, health care providers, and educators from discriminatory evictions.
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