Amazon's Seattle city council dollar dump scares other far-left candidates

Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, but candidates far outside the city are making Amazon a focal point in their races.

A Seattle city councilwoman who campaigned on her opposition to Amazon appears to have lost her seat in Tuesday's election after the corporation dumped roughly $1 million into the race — and now other candidates in Amazon's home turf are afraid what its involvement could mean.

Self-proclaimed socialist Kshama Sawant, an incumbent from the city's 3rd District, trailed her more moderate Democratic challenger Egan Orion by about eight points as of Thursday.

The corporation isn't endorsing candidates or donating directly to their campaigns, however. Amazon's contributions in the city council race were distributed through the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, a Seattle-based political action committee that represents businesses in the area.

Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, but candidates far outside the city are making Amazon a focal point in their races.


"For $1.5m, Jeff Bezos bought the Seattle city council election. Now they're coming for us. 9 days ago Amazon began funding our opponent, so I'll leave you with this photo of me, 4 months ago at a rally for Amazon workers. On May 19th you can decide who owns our democracy," Oregon State House candidate Paige Kreisman wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night.

Kreisman, a transgender woman and an Army veteran, is attempting to unseat fellow Democrat Rob Nosse in Oregon's 42nd District. Kreisman's website declares that she takes no corporate money and is a co-chair of the Portland Democratic Socialists of America.

If Amazon really was trying to buy the Seattle city council election like Kreisman alleged, the company may not have done a very good job. Headlines like "Amazon’s big spending on Seattle City Council races appears to backfire" and "Amazon’s $1.45M fails to upend Seattle City Council, but tech giant wins small victories" popped up after the city of Seattle voted.

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Progressive presidential contenders senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both criticized Amazon ahead of election day for wading into politics.

"In a city struggling with homelessness, Amazon is dropping an outrageous amount of money to defeat progressive candidates fighting for working people," Sanders, an independent from Vermont, wrote on Twitter. "The way Amazon conducts itself in its hometown is a perfect example of the out-of-control corporate greed we are going to end."

Amazon said its contributions can help the city solve problems like homelessness.

"We are contributing to this election because we care deeply about the future of Seattle," an Amazon spokesperson told FOX Business in October. "We believe it is critical that our hometown has a city council that is focused on pragmatic solutions to our shared challenges in transportation, homelessness, climate change and public safety."

FOX Business' inquiries to Kreisman, Nosse, Sawant and Amazon were not returned at the time of publication.


FOX Business' Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.