City Councilmember Kshama Sawant speaks at her election night party at Melrose Market in Seattle on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. 
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City Councilmember Kshama Sawant speaks at her election night party at Melrose Market in Seattle on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Leading Sawant Says ‘Socialist Politics Are Here To Stay’

As election results flashed on the screen Tuesday night, a party of Kshama Sawant supporters erupted.

It showed the Seattle City Council incumbent leading challenger Pamela Banks by 5 percentage points.

Sawant gave out some fist bumps, then took the stage at a cavernous event space on Capitol Hill.

The race for the District 3 seat was a hot one. It pitted an incumbent socialist against the CEO of the Urban League.

Sawant described her early lead as a decisive win.

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“We have accomplished something historic,” Sawant said. “We have had an open Socialist re-elected to City Council.”

Far more money was raised in the District 3 campaign than in any other district race -- $919,223.

Sawant pledged to keep pushing for affordable housing, livable wages and other progressive measures.

The celebration pulled in hundreds of supporters, many of them young and white.

Banks’ much smaller party gathered in a neighborhood café. Many were African American and live in Banks’ district. She had argued that she would be a better fit to represent the Central Area.

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“What’s next for me? You’re going to crack up,” she said. “I’m going on a vacation, and it’s not Disneyland.”

Banks is heading to Hawaii, for some down time. She said she’ll watch the next vote counts from there to see if the race tightens up at all.

Asked if she’d run again, she paused.

“I won’t ever say never. I never thought I would run,” she said. “Back to the Urban League and continue to do the phenomenal programs and services that we’re doing there, and kind of figure out my next steps.”

If Sawant holds her lead, she’ll continue to be the lone socialist on the Seattle City Council.

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