Councilmember Kshama Sawant addresses supporters after early election results showed her trailing behind her District 3 opponent Egan Orion on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, during an election night party at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Seattle.
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Councilmember Kshama Sawant addresses supporters after early election results showed her trailing behind her District 3 opponent Egan Orion on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, during an election night party at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Sawant jumps into lead of Seattle City Council race

Update, 3:35 p.m. 11/8/2019: Kshama Sawant is now leading her Seattle City Council race with Egan Orion.

Ballot results released Friday afternoon showed her with 50.45 percent of the vote to Orion's 49.09.

After election night, Sawant was behind by about 8 points. The next night, about the same.

But in the vote count released Thursday afternoon, Sawant closed the gap in District 3 to about 2 percentage points.

That may be why Orion sounded discouraged with what seemed like such a big lead after the first count.

In recent elections, late-counted votes in Seattle's council races have tended to be more liberal, and Sawant had been expected to gain ground as more ballots came in.

(If you want to see a great graphical representation, check out the charts at Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.)

Meanwhile, in the City Council race for District 7, which includes downtown, there's a new leader.

Assistant City Attorney Andrew Lewis went ahead of former Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel on Thursday. Lewis extended that lead on Friday.

More vote results will be released Friday evening.

If Sawant and Lewis succeed and other races remain unchanged, that would mean only two candidates endorsed by an Amazon-backed PAC have won -- Alex Pedersen in District 4 and Debora Juarez in District 5.

Here's the spending by that PAC, called CASE, in the seven council races, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission:

District 1 (West Seattle): $300,465 was spent for Phil Tavel, who is trailing incumbent Lisa Herbold.

District 2 (South Seattle): $162,033 was spent for Mark Solomon, who is behind in his race against Tammy Morales.

District 3 (Capitol Hill, Central Area): $443,829 was spent for Egan Orion to beat incumbent Kshama Sawant -- but she's now ahead.

District 4 (U District, North Seattle): $66,014 was spent for Alex Pedersen, who leads Shaun Scott.

District 5 (Northeast Seattle): $19,222 was spent for Debora Juarez, who leads Ann Davison Sattler.

District 6 (Ballard, Fremont, Phinney Ridge): $431,140 was spent for Heidi Wills, who trails Dan Strauss.

District 7 (downtown, Queen Anne, Magnolia): $319,855 was spent for Jim Pugel, who has fallen behind Andrew Lewis.

And remember, CASE wasn't the only PAC out there. Other groups spent both for and against each candidate. You can explore independent expenditures at the PDC site.