The race for Seattle City Council Position 2 took a new turn Tuesday after new election numbers show socialist Ksharma Sawant leading incumbent Richard Conlin by a mere 41 votes.
The new bach of numbers released just after 4 p.m. Tuesday show Sawant with 79,751 votes compared to Conlin's 79,710 votes.
Sawant initially trailed incumbent Conlin by more than 6,000 votes; it then narrowed to about 1,200 votes. As the latest numbers from King County Elections turned the tide, Sawant rallied her supporters.
"This is a strong confirmation of the systematic trend that we've seen since after election night," said Sawant. "Election night we got 46.3 percent of the vote. Since then, and every ballot counts, it keeps going up."
Sawant says she's loyal to the working people in Seattle, not corporate interests. Her platform calls for a $15 minimum wage, affordable housing and a tax on citizens making more than a million dollars a year.
"We've already shaken things up by running this campaign in such a spectacular way," said Sawant. "When we first ran our campaign for state House last year, people in the establishment were ignoring us, but we got 29 percent of the vote last year. And now we are about to take the seat on City Council."
A recount is triggered if the final margin is less than .5% and 2,000 votes. If the final count is done now, it would qualify for a recount. But if current post-election night trends continue, Sawant could win by more than 2,000 votes. Then it will be up to Conlin to decide whether he wants to spend his own money to recount the ballots.
KING 5 estimates there are still about 15,000 ballots to be counted in the 2nd Seattle City Council race.
Sawant is a former softwre engineer and economist who teaches at Seattle Central Community College. Conlin has served on the Seattle City Council for 16 years.
KING 5's Linda Brill and Liza Javier contributed to this report.