Progressives on Sunday celebrated the triumphs of two West Coast candidates who were finally able to declare victories in their elections after officials in Seattle and San Francisco spent days tallying votes.
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Chesa Boudin, a public defender and the son of parents who were incarcerated when he was a child, won San Francisco’s election for district attorney, promised to confront mass incarceration, institutionalized racism, and police violence in the city.
“In voting for this campaign,” Boudin told the Washington Post, “the residents of San Francisco have demanded radical change and rejected calls to go back to the tough-on-crime era that did not make us safer and destroyed the lives of thousands of San Franciscans.”
Boudin ran against interim district attorney Suzy Loftus, who previously served as a police commissioner before stepping into the role just weeks ago and had the support of the California’s Democratic Party and several establishment figures.
Boudin had won the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressives with his pledges to eliminate cash bail, implement restorative justice programs to help end mass incarceration, and introduce community-based initiatives to reduce gun violence.
His victory was applauded on social media.
Boudin’s win came hours after Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant declared her own victory in the race for the seat she has held for six years.
Sawant faced challenger Egan Orion, who was backed by tech giant Amazon. The company poured $1.5 million into the race supporting Orion and other pro-business candidates in order to defeat Sawant, who led the charge last year for a head tax on Amazon and other big companies which have contributed to skyrocketing housing prices in the Seattle area. The tax was aimed at funding services for the homeless and affordable housing projects.
Amazon’s unprecedented effort to unseat a city council member, Sawant said in a statement, “clarified to people that big business is not on our side.”
“This mythology that, ‘Oh if only we behaved nicely and we brought big business to the table, things would work out.’ Well that’s been blown to smithereens,” she added. “They are not on our side and in fact they will use every dollar that they can to try and crush the movement.”