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Seattle Council incumbent Kshama Sawant loses high-profile endorsements

The central body of Seattle labor organizations has endorsed Kshama Sawant's challenger Zachary DeWolf in the Seattle City Council District 3 race.

SEATTLE — Endorsements are beginning to shift in Seattle's District 3, with city council incumbent Kshama Sawant being snubbed by a few, previously supportive organizations. 

MLK Labor, the central body of labor organizations in King County, chose to endorse Zachary DeWolf for the District 3 position. 

DeWolf is a program manager with All Home King County, which works to end homelessness. He has also served as president of the Capitol Hill Community Council, a commissioner on the Seattle Housing Authority Board, and a director on the Seattle School Board.

Individual unions, including Ironworkers Local #86, SEIU 775, and Teamsters 117, have also followed suit with DeWolf endorsements.

Dustin Lambro, political director for Teamsters 117 and president-elect of MLK Labor, said his union had enthusiastically supported Sawant in her re-election campaign in 2016, but were disappointed with her intervention in the failed head tax and union contract negotiations last year.

"We're past bumper stickers and bullhorns," Lambro said. "And we need real leaders who can enact change."

King County Young Democrats also chose DeWolf along with public defender Ami Nguyen in a dual endorsement.

During their annual caucus meeting, 43rd Democrats didn't make endorsements for any of the four council races that fall within the 43rd Legislative District. 

Sawant is still supported by a dozen other big unions. That includes the Seattle chapter of the Sierra Club on Wednesday. 

The changes in endorsements come at a time when there is a bit of head-butting within the council, and a strong pushback from the business community. 

Councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena Gonzalez have both endorsed Sawant's opponent DeWolf. 

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On Wednesday, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's political arm endorsed only one member of the current city council: Debora Juarez from District 5 in North Seattle. 

“Seattle needs elected leaders who are trustworthy and effective,” said Chamber President and CEO Marilyn Strickland in a prepared statement.  “As a former mayor, I know that serving elected office requires engaging in constructive dialogue and making tough decisions. It’s not about ideological purity or echo chamber politics. It’s about delivering effective results for the city and neighborhoods you serve.”

The Chamber of Commerce says recent polling shows 52% of Seattle voters disapprove of the job the council is doing and 56% distrust the council overall.

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Correction: A previous version of this story did not include King County Young Democrats' endorsement of Ami Nguyen.

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