Socialist takes lead in Seattle council race

SEATTLE — A socialist candidate has taken the lead as an updated ballot count was released on Tuesday afternoon in a close Seattle City Council race.

Kshama Sawant initially trailed incumbent Richard Conlin by more than 6,000 votes, but is now leading by about 40 votes — 79,751 to 79,710.

The next count of ballots for elections in King County will be released at 4:30 on Wednesday.

More mail-in ballots may be counted before election results are certified Nov. 26.

Sawant is a former software engineer and economist who made a proposed $15 an hour minimum wage the centerpiece of her campaign.

Conlin is seeking his fifth term on the city council.

Council races in Seattle are non-partisan but Sawant won a court decision to list her Socialist preference on the November ballot.

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