Politics
Candidate for Seattle City Council in District 3, Egan Orion, poses for a portrait on Monday, September 16, 2019, in Seattle.
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Candidate for Seattle City Council in District 3, Egan Orion, poses for a portrait on Monday, September 16, 2019, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

‘Shadow of Amazon.’ Egan Orion wishes Amazon hadn't funneled big bucks to his campaign

Egan Orion was not pleased that he had received so much money for his campaign.

The Seattle City Council candidate said on Election Night that he was “really frustrated.”

“In my race it was completely unnecessary,” Orion said. “We had record fundraising.”

For this election, Amazon gave $1.5 million to a political action committee that backed candidates seen as business friendly.

That committee, run by the Metropolitan Chamber, spent nearly half a million dollars to support Orion in his campaign against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

See more: Results from the general election


Sawant is a socialist, a Trotskyist specifically, who has received national attention for her work on the $15 minimum wage here in Seattle. Bernie Sanders mentions her in his tweets.

This appears to be the first time that Orion has come out against the Amazon money specifically, although earlier he condemned "massive outside spending" as violating the goals of district elections and democracy vouchers.

Heidi Wills, a council candidate in District 6, also lamented the last-minute money dump into her campaign.

“Unfortunately because of Citizens United, there is really nothing we can do about that,” she said from her election party in Fremont on Tuesday night.

“It’s been hard on candidates,” she continued. “When special interests get involved and have influence over the campaign message it becomes something the candidate has no control over.”

Wills said that if she is elected, she will be an independent voice “accountable solely to the residents of District 6.”

Back his election party at Sole Repair on Capitol Hill, Orion called the money a big distraction and said he met people who switched their vote to Sawant because they were disgusted by Amazon apparently trying to sway the election.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant addresses supporters after early election results showed her trailing behind her District 3 opponent Egan Orion on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, during an election night party at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Seattle.
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Councilmember Kshama Sawant addresses supporters after early election results showed her trailing behind her District 3 opponent Egan Orion on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, during an election night party at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

“That last minute donation felt out-sized with these little local district elections,” he said. “We have no control of that at the end of the day.”

Orion said he sought the chamber’s endorsement but is rethinking that decision.  

“If I were to do it all over again, that would be a question mark in my book,” he said.

“Money and politics tends to be corrosive and it takes away trust in the outcome.”

He said that if he makes it onto the council, he doesn’t want “the shadow of Amazon hanging over me.”

“The only people I’m going to serve are voters from District 3,” he said.

Produced for the web by Isolde Raftery.