Socialist Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant Faces Recall Effort After Backing CHOP, ‘Defund the Police’

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 08: Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, a critic of Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle Police Department, speaks as demonstrators hold a rally outside of the Seattle Police Departments East Precinct, which has been boarded up and protected by fencing, on June 8, 2020 in …
David Ryder/Getty

A recall effort is under way to remove Socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, who pushed for the city to “defund the police,” allowed Black Lives Matter rioters into City Hall, and backed the occupation known as CHAZ or CHOP.

Sawant is an immigrant from India who joined the Socialist Alternative organization and advocates for radical left-wing policies within city government. She has supported other violent radical movements, including the Occupy movement.

Though she was elected in 2019 to serve a four-year term that ends in 2024, many local residents are furious at her impact thus far. As Breitbart News reported last June, she led demonstrators into City Hall, despite coronavirus restrictions. She also defended the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ), later known as the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” (CHOP), saying the protesters had the right to use armed guards, and blaming a shooting inside the CHOP on “capitalism’s brutality.”

Sawant also led efforts to “defund the police,” and succeeded in pressing the City Council to commit to cutting the Seattle Police Department by 50%, though only 100 officers could be cut right away. Police Chief Carmen Best resigned in protest.

The Seattle Times reported Monday that both opponents and supporters of Sawant are gearing up for the fight (original links):

Last week, the Recall Sawant campaign mailed petition copies and signature-gathering instructions to some voters in Sawant’s District 3, and the Kshama Solidarity campaign mailed literature to some voters arguing against a recall.

To secure a recall election (an up-or-down vote on Sawant), Recall Sawant must submit at least 10,739 valid signatures from District 3 voters (25% of the votes cast in 2019’s general election).

Only District 3 voters can sign, and only District 3 voters will be allowed to participate if an election is held. District 3 includes Capitol Hill, the Central District, Montlake and Madison Park.

The recall process allows 180 days for petition signatures to be collected; the clock began on April 22, when the ballot synopsis for the potential recall was finalized, so Recall Sawant has until mid-October.

The Recall Sawant website lays out the case against her:

1. Misuse of City of Seattle Council Office Resources to Promote a Ballot Initiative or Other Electioneering (Jan-February 2020)

2. Misuse of Councilmember Sawant’s Official Position in Admitting Hundreds of Individuals Illegally into City Hall Afterhours (June 9, 2020)

3. Using Her Official Position as City Councilmember to Lead a Protest March to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Private Residence Whose Location is in the State Confidential Program (July 3rd 2020)

The Kshama Solidarity website sets out her defense:

Big business and the right-wing are using the courts and their deep pockets to try to silence Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant with a recall campaign. They are furious about her consistent support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the victories she has spearheaded with her socialist council office, including the Amazon Tax, the $15 minimum wage, and landmark legislation for renters’ rights.

Signature gathering is being conducted by mail, because of the risks of an ongoing coronavirus surge in the state.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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