US: Jess Spear election success

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Hot on the heels of socialist Kshama Sawant’s earth shattering election victory in Seattle and the game changing success of the ‘$15 Now’ end low pay campaign, comes Jess Spear. Socialist Alternative member Jess is attempting to go even further in a run for Washington State legislature.

By Ian Pattison, Socialist Party

Jess’s opponent, Frank Chopp, is a 20-year Democratic Party incumbent. McDonalds and Walmart, oil giants, banks and real estate conglomerates, insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry all donate to Frank Chopp as someone who will fight their corner. As Speaker of the House of Representatives, he secured $11.9 billion in bailouts for Boeing. Boeing is one of Chopp’s all-time highest donors.

Jess needed just 1% in August’s primary vote to proceed to the general election in November. Even without the endorsement of Seattle’s free independent newspaper, the Stranger, Jess won 22% of the vote.

In just a short time, the Vote Spear campaign has amassed 170 volunteers and raised a tremendous $38,000. Her campaign has championed the success of the $15 Now campaign, demanded rent control and highlighted environmental concerns.

Chopp is worried about her chances. He normally uses his power and prestige to raise $150,000, spending very little in his own race and instead donating his campaign budget to other Democrats, buying patronage across Washington.

This year, Chopp wants to raise double that amount and is using every penny to defend his own seat. Out of touch Chopp has attempted to portray himself as an ‘activist’, and has even come out in favour of rent control (following decades in power doing nothing to bring it about) as Kshama’s opponent did on the minimum wage issue.