Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant—a self-proclaimed socialist—picked up two opponents in her 2015 re-election bid for the council’s 3rd District. Her opponents are Rod Hearne, the former executive director of Equal Rights, and Morgan Beach, who works for the American Red Cross and serves on the Seattle Women’s Commission.
According to the Seattle Times, Hearne has been reluctant to criticize Sawant outright. He did say, “A lot of people supported her because she was there to pull the council in a particular direction, not because they agreed with her 100 percent of the time or thought of her as an ideal representative.”
Hearne has been less hesitant to criticize the Socialist Alternative Party, to which Sawant is a member. Following Rep. Frank Chopp’s defeat of his socialist opponent, Hearne wrote, “I think it’s perfectly fair to challenge incumbents, even when they have a great track record. But it’s nice to see voters soundly reject the Socialist Alternative’s negative, blatantly false, scorched earth, mudslinging campaign.”
The same cannot be said of Beach. The Seattle Times reports that Beach and Sawant “mostly share the same politics.” However, Beach “prefers collaboration” where “Sawant has sometimes positioned herself against other council members.
Unlike Hearne, Beach does appear more willing to criticize Sawant. Beach suggested that Sawant’s “bark is more impressive than her bite.” She said, “She’s been very good at getting headlines but less successful at actually passing policies.”
Apparently, Beach has not been paying attention to Seattle politics. The reality is that Sawant has won major victories—the council has bowed to Sawant’s whims on multiple occasions, pushing through a $15 minimum wage sure to punish small business owners and even changing the name of Columbus Day. Sawant is proof that little difference exists between her and Democrat members of the council.