Seattle socialist candidate widens lead

SEATTLE — A socialist candidate is getting closer to clinching a seat on the Seattle City Council.

Thursday’s vote results show that Kshama Sawant expanded her lead over 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin to more than 1,100 votes. Her campaign hopes she gains enough votes to avoid an automatic recount, which is triggered if a candidate’s lead is less than half a percentage point of total ballots cast. She crossed that threshold on Thursday.

On election night, Sawant was losing by four percentage points, but ballots counted after election day skewed heavily toward her.

Sawant mounted the most successful campaign of any socialist candidates in Seattle’s history. The last socialist candidate to make it into the general election was in 1991 and was defeated easily.

Sawant campaigned on focused inequality issues, including supporting a $15 minimum wage and taxing the wealthy.

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