1. City Council member Richard Conlin will concede this afternoon to socialist challenger Kshama Sawant, multiple sources say.
Sawant is currently leading Conlin by more than 1,000 votes, a margin of 50.17 to 49.5. During her campaign, Sawant painted Conlin, who has been an advocate for density and environmental causes during his 16 years on the council, as a conservative shill for developers; at a Seattle Neighborhood Coalition interview, Sawant said that "the first thing we need is a city council that will defend existing housing and not push to destroy existing housing in the name of density and environmental sustainability."
She has also vowed to deliver a $15-an-hour minimum wage, a "millionaire's tax," and rent control.
Mayor-elect Ed Murray has said he supports implementing a higher minimum in Seattle, but "incrementally," and neither of Sawant's other two platform planks can happen without state legislative action.
We have a call out to Conlin.
2. As for the status of other races: Seattle Proposition 1, which would provide public financing for candidates for the two at-large city council seats, was losing, at last count, by a margin of just over 2,650 votes, prompting city council member Mike O'Brien, a public-financing proponent, to send an email to supporters urging them to help the campaign "chas[e] down the thousands of ballots that have been challenged because of signature problems."
Meanwhile, SeaTac's proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage was winning by just 53 votes, a margin of less than one percent; the measure seems certain to go to a recount, and could end up the subject of a legal challenge.
Finally, in Bellevue, incumbent city council member Kevin Wallace leads challenger Steve Kasner by 201 votes—a net gain of one vote over yesterday's 200-vote margin.
3. A committee sponsored by the national teachers' union, the American Federation of Teachers, spent $10,000 on a mailer for Mayor Mike McGinn in October, but only reported the expenditure (and the contribution, dated October 11) this week. Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission director Wayne Barnett says "it would appear to be a late-filed report," which could subject the committee to a penalty.
Speaking of McGinn: Seattle Center director Robert Nellams indulged in a little bit of gallows humor at last night's 36 District Democrats' post-election panel, sponsored by state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and moderated by Nellams, joking during his introduction, "I'm the director of Seattle Center—at least for now."
4. Mayor-elect Murray, who was invited to the event, couldn't make it (he was at the National League of Cities conference downtown), but former city council member Peter Steinbrueck (rumored as a potential contender to head up Murray's Department of Neighborhoods, or possibly a new planning department spun off from the current Department of Planning and Development) was positioned prominently in the second row.
5. The audience at last night's event, a mix of fired-up Democrats, hissed a few times (uncharacteristic for a Seattle crowd), when panel members mentioned: State Senator Michael Baumgartner, R-6 (who has called for a special session to make Washington a right-to-work state after Boeing machinists declined to ratify a new contract this week); state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48), a conservative Democrat who heads up the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus and gloated recently over Republican Jan Angel's victory in the 26th District state Senate race, which solidified the conservative coalition's majority; and state Sen. Don Benton (R-17), who has advocated tirelessly against funding a new bridge across the Columbia River between Vancouver and Oregon, in large part because it would include light rail, which he opposes.
Benton defeated his Democratic opponent, Tim Probst, by 74 votes. "If he had not won that race, I do not believe we would be in the minority now," Kohl-Welles said. "It really goes to show that a policy may be supported and have sufficient votes and yet the politicians can defeat the policy anyway."