We applaud the leadership shown by Councilmember Girmay Zahilay in his response to the despicable and racist campaign mailer sent out by Republican Kathy Lambert in her campaign against Sarah Perry for the King County Council District 3 seat. We thank his Democratic colleagues on the King County Council for standing with him, and we thank Sarah Perry for her courage in taking on this campaign. Our democracy counts on leaders like these, and we are so proud of them. All King County voters owe them a debt of gratitude.
We also want to recognize the Seattle Times Editorial Board for responding to these mailers with a strong and immediate statement in opposition to them and to endorse Sarah Perry’s campaign. It’s important that voices like these step up and say “no” when conservative politicians use this sort of rhetoric and imagery. To the Times editorial board – thank you for your strong action.
But this mailer is emblematic of a problem larger than just Kathy Lambert’s campaign. This is far from the first time that Republicans have used racist imagery against Democratic candidates. Sen. Manka Dhingra of Redmond was subject to similar attacks as these mail pieces in her 2017 special election campaign, comparing her to Kshama Sawant because they are both South Asian. Sen. T’wina Nobles of University Place had her skin intentionally darkened in attack mailers during her 2020 campaign. And Sen. Claire Wilson of Auburn had mail sent against her in 2018 with photoshopped images of her grasping money, playing on anti-Semitic stereotypes. These examples are not from eras of the past, they are happening currently right here, in Washington state.
We must all come together to agree that these practices and this imagery should have no place in our politics. The Washington State and King County Republican Parties and their leaders Caleb Heimlich and Joshua Freed, the Republican state legislative caucuses, and conservative political action committees like Enterprise Washington, MUST put a stop to this behavior. We demand better from the Republican party, its candidates, and its supporters, and we continue to demand an apology from Kathy Lambert. While we won’t hold our breath, we can also show her the door on November 2nd. We encourage voters in King County Council District 3 to consider this when they fill out their ballots this year – do they want to support racism and hate, or to say that this has no place in the politics of our community. These despicable acts by Lambert demand accountability, and that’s ultimately in the hands of the voters. We look forward to seeing District 3 voters step up and do the right thing.
Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski
King County Democratic Party Chair Shasti Conrad