Amazon gave an additional $1 million to Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee, on October 14. This brings Amazon’s total contribution to $1.5 million throughout the Seattle City Council election cycle.
Seattle is holding elections for seven city council districts on November 5; the council’s two at-large seats are up for election in 2021. Four races are open, while incumbents Lisa Herbold (District 1), Kshama Sawant (District 3), and Debora Juarez (District 5) are seeking re-election. CASE endorsed Juarez in her re-election bid and endorsed challengers to Herbold and Sawant.
One CASE-endorsed candidate advanced from each of the seven primary races in August. In five of the seven races, Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE)—a PAC formed by the group Working Washington—endorsed a different candidate than CASE (the group has not endorsed in Districts 5 or 7).
CASE had spent around $1 million supporting and opposing candidates through October 17. CAPE had spent around $240,000. The races had seen $2.6 million total in satellite spending. In 2015—the last time the seven district seats were on the ballot—satellite spending totaled $785,000.
The elections are occurring a year after the repeal of a head tax proposal, which would have required businesses grossing at least $20 million to pay $275 per employee in order to fund affordable housing programs for the homeless. The city council voted to pass the head tax 9-0 in May 2018 but then repealed it by a 7-2 vote in June 2018 after running into opposition from the city’s business community, including Amazon. Sawant and Position 8 At-large Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda cast the two votes against repealing the tax. Juarez and Herbold voted with five others to repeal it.