- We knew this year's first-ever district elections were going to bring some interesting potential match-ups. Let the council games begin!
Buckle up, folks. Socialist City Council Member Kshama Sawant is considering running against longtime council member Sally Clark for a citywide position on the City Council, according to a consultant on her campaign.
Under the city's new district election system, two of the council's nine seats—positions 8 and 9—are citywide positions. Clark has filed to run for position 9, while Sawant has filed for position 3, which represents Capitol Hill and the Central District, where her approval numbers are sky high.
"As of yet, it doesn't appear that any strong challengers have emerged against Clark or [Council President Tim] Burgess citywide," says Jeff Upthegrove, a political consultant for the Sawant campaign. "So at this point it looks like they may be in for a fairly free ride. We would love for that not to be the case."
He continued: "If the circumstances are right, and it looks like Sawant is strong enough, she may take on Clark."
In which case, Upthegrove says, Jess Spear—who ran a high profile, but ultimately failed, campaign to unseat State House Speaker Frank Chopp during the last cycle—would be likely to run under the Socialist Alternative banner for the District 3 council seat. However, Spear says she currently lives in the 4th District and would not immediately comment on whether she might run—either in the 4th or the 3rd. "Generally," Spear says, "all options are on the table."
Upthegrove, for his part, cautions: "No final decisions have been made."
Does the idea of Sawant running against her rattle Clark, the former council president? Maybe a little. "Anybody with more name recognition is a challenge," Clark tells me.
"It's too early to know," Clark says, whether a Sawant campaign against her would force her to run to the left.
For now, Clark says, she's focused on raising campaign funds. Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission records show she's raised $42,942; Sawant has raised $3,946 in District 3.
Clark and Sawant have repeatedly clashed on the council dias, over everything from the minimum wage to the city budget. But as colleagues with separate places on the council, Clark says, "I think we work well together."
UPDATE: Rod Hearne, the Equal Rights Washington board member, tells The Stranger's Heidi Groover that he's running in District 3—which would mean he's running against Sawant, unless Sawant decides to take on Clark. More on Hearne and why he wants to be a council member tomorrow.