Burien City Council Member Debi Wagner, who donated $300 to Respect Washington and signed its petition attempting to reverse the city's sanctuary ordinance, conceded her race to her opponent, Latino labor leader Jimmy Matta.
In a statement posted to Facebook, Wagner thanked her supporters before blaming her loss on "campaign smear tactics, negative Facebook postings and media stories" that damaged her reputation, as well as "powerful Democrat and union machinery."
Wagner, who was forced to disavow Respect Washington after it sent mailers to Burien residents with the names and addresses of allegedly undocumented immigrants, additionally clarified that she was been "falsely reported to be a racist, anti-immigrant, white nationalist, white supremacist and nazi."
"Maybe people are not aware that the word Nazi is short for national socialism," Wagner continued. "I am not only anti nazi, I’m anti socialist which I consider the enemy of democracy and freedom. The underlying theory of socialism is using the power of the state to undermine and control its citizens. I am opposed to all forms of socialism including Italian Fascism, communism, Marxism, Socialist Alternative Party because their purpose is to overthrow our form of government. These fabricated ties to extreme groups were used by opponents in this election to damage my reputation making it easier for my opponent to win this seat."
Respect Washington's primary funder is US Inc., whose founder, John Tanton, has been called the "racist architect of the modern anti-immigration movement," by the Southern Poverty Law Center. US Inc.'s flagship publication, The Social Contract, publishes white nationalist literature.
After the mailer in October, Wagner said on her website that "there had been no disclosure of another donor who was subsequently determined by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be a white nationalist."
Three months earlier, in August, I had asked Wagner about Respect Washington taking funds from U.S. Inc, explaining that SPLC had designated it a hate group. She brushed off my question.
"What's your definition of a racist?" Council Member Debi Wagner wrote back to me. "I see Trenton [sic] is described as a racist. Is that because he is against illegal immigration or is there something else?"