Incumbents didn’t do so well at tonight’s 37th Legislative District Democrats endorsement meeting, with port commissioner Courtney Gregoire and city council members Tim Burgess, Sally Bagshaw, and Bruce Harrell all failing to win endorsements. It was a particularly poor showing for Harrell in his home district (well, one of his homes, anyway). Lorena Gonzalez, running to fill Sally Clark’s vacated seat, was the only council candidate to win an endorsement. It was “no consensus” for everyone else.
All in all, the 37th LD Dems displayed a lot of discontent with Democratic incumbents.
Of course, the headline match was between Socialist incumbent Kshama Sawant and establishment Dem challenger Pamela Banks—or rather, between Banks and the vote for “no endorsement.” The rules prohibit the 37th from endorsing any candidate who refuses to claim to be a Democrat, and that left Sawant ineligible for endorsement. So Sawant backers pushed for a “no endorsement” vote.
“No endorsement” led after three rounds, but not by the 60 percent margin necessary to win the day, so bizarrely, that led to a final “yes” or “no” vote on a dual endorsement for Banks and distant third, Rod Hearne. No crushed yes, leaving an official position of “no consensus.” (By the rules, a no consensus race can be reconsidered after the August primary.)
It was a victory of sorts for Sawant—a demonstration of her relatively strong support among active Democratic Party members. Establishment types like to soothe themselves with the idea that Sawant’s vocal support is a mirage: the result of the same 50 folks packing the room at every event, or something. But only dues-paying members and PCOs can vote at LD endorsement meetings. Sawant simply has a lot of support among rank and file Dems. And why shouldn’t she? No other candidate speaks more directly to Democrats on core Democratic issues than Sawant.