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Preliminary results are in for the Seattle City Council election, and it appears far-left candidates who were expected to be hostile to business interests have faltered after Amazon dumped more than a million dollars into the race in October.
Self-proclaimed socialist Kshama Sawant, an incumbent from the city’s 3rd District, trailed her more moderate challenger Egan Orion by about eight points as of Wednesday morning.
Orion celebrated his lead with supporters Tuesday night and said he was “90% confident” that he’d hold onto it, The Seattle Times reported.
In this Monday, Oct. 28, 2019 photo, Seattle City Council candidate Egan Orion poses for a photo at his headquarters in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Sawant capitalized on her opposition to Amazon in 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 Egan Orion. “What’s at stake this year is who runs Seattle — Amazon and big business or working people.”
However, conservative radio host Jason Rantz pointed out that campaign filings show that Sawant’s team bought a printer, tables and other items from Amazon early in the campaign.
Seattle voters went to the polls Tuesday, and seven of nine city council seats were in play.
Big names like presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized Amazon for getting involved in the race.
Another socialist candidate is faring even worse than Sawant. Democratic socialist Shaun Scott trailed Alex Pedersen by roughly 16 points for an open seat as of Wednesday morning.
However, Tammy Morales, one of the candidates Sanders appeared to support in his tweet, led her opponent Mark Solomon by about 12 points in the city’s 2nd District. Lisa Herbold, another candidate Sanders appeared to support and an incumbent, had a slight edge on her challenger Phil Tavel in the city’s 1st District.
Amazon’s contributions were distributed through the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, a Seattle-based political action committee that represents businesses in the area. While there are limitations on how much contributors can give to individual candidates, there are no limits on donations to PACs that spend separately from specific campaigns.
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.”
Amazon’s spending comes 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.
FOX Business’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.