"First, Amazon dropped a money bomb on the Seattle City Council elections," says Daniel Beekman at The Seattle Times. "Then, voters dropped their own bomb with Tuesday night's election results."
Amazon dumped $1.5 million into the city council races via a political action committee of the Metropolitan Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Lots of votes still have to be counted, but of the seven candidates the business organization backed in Tuesday's election, it appears no more than two will prevail.
"On balance, this is not the city council that Amazon or the chamber of commerce wanted to see," councilmember Lorena González, who was not up for re-election, told The Associated Press on Wednesday as the votes trickled in. In 2010, seven of the nine city council members were backed by the chamber, former Mayor Mike McGinn added, and now they will have just two or three allies. "Amazon's spending helped unite and grow the left," he told AP. "The labor and social justice block gained seats in this election."
Even Egan Orion, a chamber-backed candidate trying to unseat Socialist Council member Kshama Sawant, seemed annoyed at having "the shadow of Amazon hanging over me." Having Amazon's backing "was completely unnecessary" and "a big distraction from our closing arguments," Orion added.
The city council clashed with Amazon in 2018 when it passed an "Amazon tax" to get large Seattle companies to help pay for homeless services. It later repealed the tax after fierce blowback from Amazon. The online retailer said it's pleased with Tuesday's election results. "We're looking forward to working with the new city council, which we believe will be considerably more open to constructive dialogue and making the decisions that need to be made in order for Seattle to be world-class city to live and do business," Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement.