SEATTLE — Voters in Seattle are close to electing a Socialist candidate to a city office.
Socialist Kshama Sawant has widened her lead over longtime Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin. Election number Thursday night show Sawant now leads by 402 votes, up from the 41 vote margin of Tuesday night, almost a quarter of a percentage point.
Even in left-leaning Seattle, where police recently made headlines for handing out snacks at a large marijuana festival and politicians often try to out-liberal each other, the fact that 41-year-old Sawant has taken the lead in a City Council race has surprised many people.
Sawant has backed efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15, favors rent control and supports a tax on millionaires to fund city needs.
There will be an automatic recount if the final margin is less than a half a percent. Given Washington state's mail-in voting system, a definitive winner won't be named for days or even weeks.