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There's a Competitive Two-Party Race in This City...and It's Democrat vs. Socialist

"I am going to speak my truth and what I believe in.”

In this photo taken Aug. 1, 2013, Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant, right, speaks with a restaurant worker during a demonstration in Seattle. Sawant, a socialist and an economic instructor at Seattle Central Community College, is running against Seattle City Council incumbent Richard Conlin in the November general election. (AP)

It's rare that a Democrat in heavily blue Seattle would face a viable challenge in a municipal election, but this year, there is in fact a competitive two-party race for city council – between a Democrat and a socialist.

A group of Democrats gathered Wednesday to announce their support for Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant, the candidate of the Socialist Alternative Party, KUOW reported. Sawant is running against long-time Democratic Party councilman Richard Conlin.

Seattle City Council In this photo taken Aug. 1, 2013, Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant, right, speaks with a restaurant worker during a demonstration in Seattle. Sawant, a socialist and an economic instructor at Seattle Central Community College, is running against Seattle City Council incumbent Richard Conlin in the November general election. (AP)

Sawant has been advocating for a $15 per hour minimum wage in the city, supports rent control and a “millionaires' tax.”

“As a Democrat, as an activist, as a person who cares about community, I feel very strongly that we need her voice on the city council to advocate for the positions that many of us have fought for,” said Daniel Norton, the former chair of the King County Democrats breaking ranks to support the socialist.

The Seattle-based KUOW reported that "tensions within the party over this city council race are unusual. Seattle is a heavily Democratic city, and it’s rare for a candidate who is not a Democrat to put up a serious challenge in a city race."

Jeanne Legault, the vice chair of the 37th District Democrats, said she has faced blowback within the Democratic party organization for supporting the socialist candidate.

“I have gotten a lot of complaints filed against me,” Legault said. “It doesn’t matter to me, I am going to speak my truth and what I believe in.”

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