Amazon vs Seattle socialist city councilwoman: Why she could have last laugh
The Seattle-based corporation dumped roughly $1.5 million into the election.
Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who campaigned on taxing Amazon more, overcame an eight-point deficit to take the lead from her challenger after he tentatively celebrated victory last week.
The Seattle-based corporation dumped roughly $1.5 million into the election, which included seven of the city's nine council seats. Final results could be known by Tuesday, MyNorthwest reported.
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Self-proclaimed socialist Sawant, an incumbent from the city's 3rd District, trailed her more moderate Democratic challenger, Egan Orion, last Thursday. By Saturday, she had a roughly three-point lead.
Sawant declared victory in front of a banner that read "Tax Amazon: Affordable Housing for All" on Saturday.
"Our movement needs to organize for rent control, for a Green New Deal for working people, to make sure this council stands with working people ... Join us in the People's Budget movement and fight to tax big business," Sawant said.
Sawant capitalized on her opposition to Amazon throughout her campaign.
"This year, corporate PACs are unleashing a record-breaking corporate onslaught against Councilmember Kshama Sawant. Wealthy Republicans, notorious real-estate developers, and dozens of top Amazon executives are bankrolling her opponent," Sawant wrote on her site, referencing her rival Orion. "What's at stake this year is who runs Seattle — Amazon and big business or working people."
But Amazon did not endorse candidates or donate directly to their campaigns. 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 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," Amazon spokesperson Aaron Toso 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."
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Amazon's election spending came after the city council approved, then repealed, a measure requiring companies with annual revenues of $20 million or more to contribute $275 per employee annually. At the time, the council said the so-called head tax would raise about $50 million per year toward the development of affordable housing, homeless shelters and other outreach efforts.
Candidates outside Amazon's home turf are afraid of what its involvement could mean for them.
"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, a Democratic socialist, wrote on Twitter last week before Sawant's surge.
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