The fight for and against the recall effort of Kshama Sawant heats up

A rare special election is just days away and it will seal the fate for Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant.

It’s been a long year and half for the people behind the movement to recall Sawant.

They had to get a judge to agree they had a basis to call for a recall. Then they gathered thousands of signatures to qualify for the ballot now set for Dec. 7. At that time, voters in District 3 will get to decide on whether to keep or reject Sawant.

On Wednesday, a group backing Sawant called for a press conference to show support for the council member.

The event took place a day after a scathing letter came out, signed by more than 70 religious and community members calling for Sawant’s recall.

The people signing the letter are from the Jewish, Black and Asian communities.

The letter reads in part:

"Sawant regularly trades in rhetoric that gives rise to antisemitism, resulting in violence and hatred directed at the Jewish community. She has also stoked chaos in the black community and sought to hijack the efforts of Black Lives Matter organizers to promote her own political agenda."

Supporters refuted that statement, including former King County Council Member Larry Gossett.

"She has consistently, as others have said, have been very supportive often of unpopular causes that benefit the poor and working people," Gossett said.

"I am saddened that Jewish ‘spokespeople’ have associated themselves in this campaign and weaponized anti-Semitism," Sawant supporter Elan Axelbank said.

Sawant has repeatedly called the recall effort racist and right-wing. 

"This recall is part of a racist, right-wing backlash nationally against Black Lives Matter. Contrary to recall lies, I did not break the law," Sawant said during a debate hosted by the Seattle Channel. 

RELATED: Recall of Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant qualifies for December ballot

District 3 resident Shiao Yen Wu said that narrative is untrue. Wu, who is supporting the recall, says she is tired of the divisiveness.

"I am tired of being run down by this bad politician, not representing anyone of us. Look at Seattle, look at what Seattle used to be," Wu said. 

Wu says she was compelled to sign the letter because many in the Chinatown International District feel ignored by Sawant. 

"I wanted to speak out not just for the Asian community, but all citizens of Seattle. I think politicians should run with common sense. It doesn’t matter right or left, it’s what’s right for the majority of citizens," Wu said.

Henry Bridger, the organizer of the recall effort, says he is a lifelong liberal Democrat.

During the Seattle Channel debate, Bridger said the recall is about Sawant breaking the rules

The Washington Supreme Court found charges against Sawant were sufficient enough to move forward with the recall. The charges include misusing city funds for a ballot initiative and violating COVID rules by unlocking City Hall and letting hundreds of protesters inside in 2020.

She is also accused of leading protesters to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s home. The address was supposed to be confidential for safety reasons.

"We are holding you accountable for breaking the law. You don’t get to break the law to make changes, sitting at the table working together, not working against the people. You have an entire constituency in the district you don’t represent, you only represent one portion of them," Bridger said. 

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