Just a Jolt today, but a major one: Socialist city council challenger Kshama Sawant now leads council incumbent Richard Conlin by 41 votes—the first vote count in which she's claimed a majority of the total vote, and a clear indication that a) There will be a recount, and b) Sawant will likely be Seattle's first socialist city council member.
Although much of Sawant's platform is not attainable at the city level—rent control and a "millionaire's tax" are state issues that the council does not control—the pressure she and her supporters have exerted for a $15-an-hour minimum wage has certainly changed the debate in Seattle elections, with mayor-elect Ed Murray expressing support for a gradual increase to a $15 minimum.
If she ultimately prevails—a recount is almost inevitable in such a close race—Sawant will have to run again in 2015 under the new district-elections system, where her district (she lives on Capitol Hill) will include her own neighborhood plus Montlake, Madison Park, and (Conlin's home turf) Madrona.
The only way Conlin can win at this point is if he picks up more than half of the remaining outstanding votes—an estimated 15,000 to 20,000. That, however, would completely defy the trend since election night.
No 8:30 vote drop tonight; the next results come in tomorrow at 4:30 in the afternoon.