SEATTLE — It’s the hottest race on the ballot this year — tomorrow’s Primary Election for Seattle Mayor will narrow the field of nine candidates down to two. And all eyes are on the four main contenders.
Mayor Mike McGinn, who is in the political fight of his life, was doing what he knows best on Monday — grassroots campaigning. He sat alongside volunteers and made calls to voters urging them to return their ballots.
McGinn freely acknowledged his rocky first year, but is nonetheless proud of his record.
“This job is an amazing job. It’s a hard job,” McGinn said. “I feel like there’s still more to learn, but I’m definitely a better mayor now than I was four, three years ago — absolutely.”
McGinn has spent the campaign season reminding voters of his accomplishments.
“We’ve added jobs, we’ve balanced the budget, we’ve rebuilt the Rainy Day Fund. We’ve made a deal with the DOJ and we’ve reduced crime at the same time. And we just keep working on what’s important.”
Sen. Ed Murray is McGinn’s most formidable foe. He has more money and more endorsements that any of the others.
“He is divisive,” Murray said of McGinn. “Whether it’s the issue of police accountability or approach to our transportation plan, his relationship with the state, his relationship with the city council. I think we need somebody who can actually reach out and build bridges with those groups.”
While Murray emphasizes style, former city councilmember Peter Steinbrueck has been more aggressive about criticizing McGinn’s actual policies.
“We can do a much better job through better design, better placement of growth, better scale and respect for the neighborhoods, the character and authenticity that make this city great,” he said. “There’s always a threat that we will lose our city’s soul and our character if we just bulldoze everything.”
Rounding out the field of top contenders is current councilmember Bruce Harrell. He’s focused his campaign on helping the most vulnerable, including seniors and at-risk youth.
“No one’s really aggressively talking about how we solve it,” Harrell said. “You can’t just throw money at it. You have to inspire a group of people to dig down deep and make sure these people are protected and motivated. And I sort of lived that life, that story.”
There are five other candidates in the race: businessman Charlie Staadecker, IT worker Joey Gray, activist Kate Martin; socialist Mary Martin, and attorney Doug McQuaid.