The longest-tenured member of the Seattle City Council announced that she will not run for reelection this year. A member of the Socialist Alternative Party, Kshama Sawant was first elected to the Council in 2013 as a citywide councilmember. Two years later, when the City adopted Council districts, she won the District 3 seat.
In her announcement, Sawant vowed to continue fighting for the working class. “The reason I am not running for office is because we believe that work needs to be continued in and outside of Seattle,” said Sawant.
And the Councilmember stayed true to form as she announced her decision to exit Seattle politics, blasting labor unions and progressives like Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Strangely, the only group she praised was the very conservative House Freedom Caucus, which Sawant lauded for knowing “how to use leverage to force establishment concessions.” As Danny Westneat of The Seattle Times recalled, “the very first thing she called for after getting elected in 2013 was for Boeing workers to rise up, “shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine” and physically take over the jet maker’s factories.”
Before her retirement announcement, Sawant had already drawn a potentially strong challenger, small business owner Joy Hollingsworth, whose grandmother was a prominent civil rights and education leader in Seattle.