Supporters of city council member Richard Conlin are crying foul over an email blast from his socialist opponent, Kshama Sawant, which they say implies, unfairly, that Sawant got the endorsement of the King County Labor Council. But while she may not have actually won the labor group's endorsement (they endorsed Conlin), Sawant did have a impressive showing for a so-called fringe candidate.

Sawant's email says, correctly, that Sawant got the support of 28 out of 49 KCLC members who were present at the group's October 16 meeting, when Sawant's supporters made a motion to reconsider the group's endorsement of Conlin in the primary, in favor of a dual Sawant-Conlin endorsement.

"I think what [the vote] represented is that [Sawant's] candidacy has more traction than people are actually giving it credit for," Freiboth says."Make no mistake, this is a real blow to Conlin, who took Labor's support for granted with his pro-business politics," Sawant campaign manager Ramy Khalil said in a statement. 

Conlin's campaign manager, Sheila Stickel, accused Sawant of "packing the room," and said that by advertising to supporters that she got a majority of the KCLC vote, which is less than the two-thirds required for an endorsement, Sawant was "effectively publicizing the fact that she didn't get the endorsement." 

Stickel adds: "They knew it was going to be a meeting with very little on the agenda, [and] therefore very few MLKCLC members attending.  It was not an endorsement meeting."

True. But, as Dave Freiboth, executive secretary of the KCLC, points out, the Sawant supporters announced their intention to go for a dual endorsement at the group's September meeting, giving the Conlin camp a month to rally the troops as well—or "pack the room."

"I think what [the vote] represented is that her candidacy has more traction than people are acutally giving it credit for," Freiboth says. 

Freiboth adds that despite not being an official endorsement meeting, the October 16 gathering was a typical size for a KCLC meeting—about 50 people.


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