SEATTLE — It’s gloves off in the Seattle mayor’s race as incumbent Mike McGinn and his challenger, Sen. Ed Murray, are in full campaign mode. The two politicians went at it at a downtown forum Wednesday.
“Sen. Murray promised he’d run the most negative campaign we’ve ever seen,” McGinn said. “I can guarantee you in every forum he has been the first one to level an attack — he’s been living up to his promise.”
Murray’s overall argument is that McGinn has been divisive and isn’t good at bringing people together. “That’s the type of government we’ve had for the last four years, and that’s what we need to change,” he said.
Here’s a look at some of the hot-button issues:
Transportation is one of the key subjects in the race. McGinn says he’s put as much money as he can into pothole repair, road paving and sidewalk construction and blames his opponent for not doing more for Seattle during his time in Olympia. “We are sitting here with a deep maintenance backlog, deep cuts to transit, and Sen. Murray is presenting himself as a leader on transportation in the legislature,” McGinn said.
“You can’t have your own facts,” Murray shot back. “The largest transportation package that was passed in the history of this state, and there is some indication that in the history of any state, was a transportation package I passed, and it included money for local transit agencies.”
Crime is also on the minds of many. Murray claims it’s increased under McGinn and that people now feel less safe out on the streets, especially in downtown. The answer, he says, starts with a new police chief. “Reform the police department,” Murray said. “Give them the skills and the tools necessary to actually rebuild the morale of our police force, because there is a real morale problem when I talk to our officers.”
McGinn defended his record on public safety. “We’ve added more park rangers, we’re adding more officers, we turned on the lights in Cal Anderson Park. I’ve gone to every murder scene in this city.” He claims that addressing the city’s crime issues are a “priority.”
Another topic that’s becoming big in this race is women, and at issue is that Seattle was recently ranked among the worst cities when it comes pay inequity between men and women. Murray argues that the task force McGinn recently created look into the problem is too little too late. “The issue is something that I would not have waited til my fourth year in office to address,” he said and claims that McGinn’s cabinet is 70 percent men. “Leadership starts at the top,” he said.
McGinn didn’t dispute that number, but pointed to some key women in his administration. “My chief of staff, my budget director, my communications director, some of the most powerful people in city government are women,” he said.
A number of additional forums are scheduled between now and the November election.