Kshama Sawant

Socialist Kshama Sawant and campaign staff at King County Elections office Monday. She submitted more than 3,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot in her re-election bid for Seattle City Council
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

In Seattle, Democratic Party activists have held enormous sway over the outcome of local elections.

But now, as campaign season begins, a non-Democrat is causing a rift in one corner of the party.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Inauguration in Seattle has usually been a low-key affair. But not this year.

Hundreds packed the lobby of Seattle City Hall on Monday. Some came to see Ed Murray, the city’s first openly gay mayor, take the oath of office. But many more came to catch a glimpse of Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s first Socialist City Council member who has attracted international attention.

Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant spearheaded rallies for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle.
KUOW File Photo/Deborah Wang

Newly-elected Councilmember Kshama Sawant is already working on her campaign promise to establish a $15 an hour minimum wage in Seattle.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Longtime Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin conceded his seat to challenger Kshama Sawant late Friday after Sawant’s lead widened to 1,640 votes, or 50.3 percent of the vote.