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Election Night: Victory for Kshama Sawant

Hundreds celebrated the re-election of Councilmember Kshama Sawant with calls for building a new, independent political party representing poor and working people.

In 2013, Kshama Sawant and Socialist Alternative made history by electing the first socialist to a major US city in decades. Within six months of taking office, Kshama helped build a movement and win the historic $15/hr minimum wage.

Danni Askini, trans rights activist and executive director of the Gender Justice League, goes over a map of Kshama Sawant's primary election voting results broken down by precinct. The areas of lowest support (green/brown) are among the richest neighborhoods in Seattle with waterfront views on Lake Washington.

And she didn't stop there. In just two years of being in office, we have defeated rent hikes of 400% on 7,000 low-income families, won millions of dollars in funding for human services, established Indigenous Peoples' Day, and played an important role in the Shell No actions that recently secured a victory against Arctic drilling.

Backstage, campaign organizers Bart and Sarah watch the King County Elections website for results to come in

It came as no surprise that the political establishment and it's corporate backers were hell bent on defeating Kshama this year. Every corporate council member endorsed Kshama's opponent, who raised a stunning $140,000 in maximum donations from CEOs, landlords and big business alone. In addition, a Republican-backed PAC dumped $18,000 into the race, and in the final week two anti-union, anti-$15/hr PACs spent $40,000 attacking Kshama.

Calvin Priest, campaign manager, speaks to the crowd before results are announced

To counter this onslaught, our campaign accepted no corporate contributions and relied solely on the power of working people. We mobilized over 600 volunteers, got endorsements from 30 unions, and raised more money than any other candidate by collecting 3,000+ contributions with a median donation of $50.

Sarah White, a nurse fighting for single-payer healthcare, hugs Kshama Sawant backstage on election night before results are announced.

Victory on election night was not guaranteed, especially after two years of lies and opposition from the political establishment, corporate media, real estate industry and the corporations that dominate city politics.

When election results were announced on the evening of November 3rd, 2015, Kshama Sawant had defeated the candidate put forward by the political establishment and backed by big business.

The crowd goes wild as election results are announced
Kshama Sawant celebrates victory and urges everyone to get involved in building the movement for a more just and equitable society

This just the beginning. We will build off this victory and won't stop until we have a society that prioritizes human needs over corporate greed.

Supporters and volunteers enjoy a well-earned celebration that ran all night and late into the morning