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Sawant closes in on Orion in tightening race for Seattle City Council District 3

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SEATTLE -- The race for Seattle City Council District 3 just got much closer.

Newcomer Egan Orion had taken a 9-point lead in early voting results, but incumbent Kshama Sawant has narrowed the gap to 2.5 percent.

Just 739 votes separate the two candidates as of Thursday afternoon.

King County is still counting ballots and plans to release updated numbers again on Friday.  County election officials said Thursday on Twitter that there are still an estimated 13,000 ballots left to count in District 3.

Ballots counted since election night have dropped 55 percent in favor of Sawant. Should she continue to get 55 percent in returns, she would end slightly ahead of Orion.

During her election night party Tuesday, Sawant said her campaign would keep fighting until every ballot was counted.

“My friends, we as working-class people, we have always had to fight hard so we are going to have to continue to fight hard and make sure that every ballot of otherwise disenfranchised people is counted are we ready to do that,” Sawant said to her supporters.

On election night in 2013, Sawant trailed her opponent by a similar margin when the early results were announced. She later came back and won the race after dropbox and mail-in ballots were all counted.

“Those of you who were with us in 2013 will remember what happened,” said Sawant, followed by cheers from the crowd.

Sawant told her supporters at her election night party she believed the same come back could happen and maintain her position as Seattle’s City Council member for District 3.

Her opponent, Egan Orion, said there's a reason early results show him in the lead. He said he believes he will maintain the lead, as voters in District 3 want change in their representation.

“[Sawant] is least effective council member on the council today,” said Orion. “She is more interested in her national movement than she is interested in the day to day lives of people in District 3. I totally respect the values she stands for. I share a lot of those values. But ultimately, when you’re traveling around, doing fundraisers in the northeast or in Europe, which she does a lot.”

This was Orion’s first time running for political office, and he was endorsed by an Amazon backed PAC. The group dumped a record $1.4 million into local city council races, Orion being the biggest beneficiary of that money.

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