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Seattle’s mayoral election in 2013

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who was first elected in November 2009, is seeking a second term in 2013. A nonpartisan primary will be held on Aug. 6. The top two finishers will advance to a Nov. 5 general election.

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SEATTLE — Mayor-elect Ed Murray announced Friday he is keeping 10 department heads or supervisors in Mayor Mike McGinn’s administration, but has informed at least four others that they will not be returning once he takes office in January.

Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel was not mentioned, but Murray has said in the past that he wants a new chief.

Mayor-elect Ed Murray talks his planAccording to a Murray news release Friday, the following department heads will be not be returning once the new administration takes office:

Beth Goldberg- City Budget Office

Peter Hahn – Department of Transportation

Marco Lowe – Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

David Stewart – Personnel Director

In addition, Rick Hooper, the current director of the Office of Housing, is announcing his retirement, and Catherine Lester, the interim Director of Human Services, has been asked to stay on for now as the city conducts a search for a permanent director.

Murray has also met with and asked for the continued service of the following:

Fred Podesta – Director of Finance and Administrative Services

Bernie Matsuno – Director Department of Neighborhoods

Ray Hoffman- Seattle Public Utilities

Gregory Dean – Fire Chief, Seattle Fire Department

Erin Devoto – Director, Department of Information Technology

Steve Johnson – Director of Department of Economic Development

Diane Sugimura – Director of Department of Planning and Development

Randy Engstrom – Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs

Robert Nellams – Director of Seattle Center

Jorge Carrasco – Superintendent of City Light

Local News

Seattle mayor concedes defeat: ‘We still need to move forward’

SEATTLE — One-term Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn conceded defeat to State Sen. Ed  Murray Thursday morning, calling his opponent two days after Election Day.

“I congratulated him on his victory,” McGinn said. “Let him know he’s in for an extraordinary four years.”

mcginn1McGinn also took time to reflect with media members on his campaign and a four-year term in office that “changed the city’s agenda.”

He said he has high hope for Murray’s time in office,  commenting that he and Murray were not far off ideologically on many issues.

McGinn said it will be hard to step away from the best job he’s ever had. He was the bicycling mayor on two wheels, seen by some as pro-bike, anti-car, and he admits he may have rubbed some people the wrong way during his years in office, such as when he fought against the City Council, and then-Gov. Chris Gregoire over the deep-bore tunnel project. McGinn was concerned the city would end up with the bill if there were cost overruns.

“I brought it to the public and the other side marshaled their forces,” said McGinn. “They pretty much steamrolled me on that one and I’ve been probably digging out of that hole ever since, but I still think it was the right thing to do.”

Still, he reminded citizens of liberal Seattle that even a progressive mayor  needed to be checked often and held accountable.

“We still need to move forward,” he said.

McGinn would not answer definitively whether he would run for office in the future. He said he “fell into politics” the first time, and that if the “stars aligned,” he could see himself running for a different position.

Right now though, he said, he had plenty to focus on in the remainder of his term. He hopes to wrap up a fourth-quarter budget, work on policy issues and ease Murray into office with a smooth transitional period.

McGinn often smiled while reflecting on his time in office, saying he indeed  loved the job he was soon to lose.

“I love it,” he said. “Every last piece of it. I would love to continue doing  it.”

As McGinn conceded the race, Mayor-elect Ed Murray was putting together the leaders of his transition team, including Martha Choe, a former City Council member and current head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Murray said his top priority remains hiring a new police chief.

Murray will take office Jan. 1.


McGinn concedes to Murray

SEATTLE — State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, maintained a seemingly insurmountable double-digit lead over incumbent Mike McGinn in the Seattle’s mayoral race, new election results showed Wednesday night. By Thursday morning, Mayor Mike McGinn acknowledged that he would not be able to come back and conceded the race to Murray.

Mayor-elect Ed Murray talks his planThe second day of vote-counting by the King County Elections Department showed Murray with a 55-44% lead over McGinn — 64,177 votes to McGinn’s 50,966 votes.

McGinn scheduled a news conference for 10:30 a.m. Thursday to likely concede the race.

McGinn, who was elected as the city’s 52nd mayor in November 2009, found himself in the position of underdog in this race.  He was dogged by criticism that he was a somewhat thorny mayor — willing to go to the mat for issues he vehemently supports — and he’s faced criticism concerning downtown safety and the police department’s use of excessive force that brought the Department of Justice to town to try to rectify the situation.

Murray, 58, was first appointed to fill a vacant 43rd District seat in the state House of Representatives in October 1995 and was re-elected  every two years until he decided in 2006 to run for the state Senate seat then held by Sen. Pat Thibaudeau, who eventually dropped out of the race and gave Murray a clear path to the state Senate.

In his first session in the Senate, 2007-08, Murray was appointed vice chairman of the majority caucus and in the 2009–10 session, he served as chairman of the majority caucus. After having been re-elected unopposed in 2010, Murray was appointed chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee for 2011–12.

Murray, a married gay man, has also been very active in advancing LGBT rights. He led the push for an anti-discrimination law protecting gays and lesbians, a measure that finally passed in 2006 after three decades of debate. He was also the main sponsor of legislation creating domestic partnerships, approved in 2007, and then the law legalizing gay marriage in the state in 2012.

In February 2013, Murray was a sponsor of an assault weapons ban bill, SB 5737, which did not pass.

For a list of the candidates and issues on the ballot, go the King County website. After that you can see King County results here, county results here and statewide results here.

Local News

McGinn: ‘Leave a place better than when you found it’

SEATTLE — Supporters of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wouldn’t let him concede victory to Ed Murray Tuesday night.

photo“You guys are awfully sweet,” McGinn told the crowd after the first day of vote results showed him trailing Murray by 13 points. “You’re making me feel like those numbers are reversed.”

But the reality was that Murray was holding a seemingly insurmountable 56-43% lead over McGinn.

McGinn said, “You want to leave a place better than when you found it,” and told his supporters that he believes he’s done that during his four years as Seattle mayor, doubling the family and education levy, pushing through paid sick leave, and brokering an arena deal for the eventual return of an NBA team

Critics of the mayor said McGinn’s politics were too combative. His opponent had the support of most of the other City Council members, along with the city attorney and King County sheriff. But the mayor refused to speculate on why his message didn’t seen to resonate with voters.

“That’s all for the Monday morning quarterbacking,” said McGinn. “For today, I’m just thankful for all of the work all of these great people did on behalf of my campaign.”

SEATTLE — State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, appeared to be headed for victory in Seattle’s mayoral race Tuesday night, taking a large lead — 56-43% — over Mayor Mike McGinn with about 40 percent of the votes reported.

‘We believe we won, yes,” Murray told a reporter late Tuesday night.

Indeed, The Seattle Times front-page headline Wednesday morning blared in big, bold type, “It’s Mayor Murray”

murrayThe first day’s ballot count by King County Elections had 50,938 votes for Murray and 39,124 votes for McGinn, who was seeking his second term in office.

“The votes are in,” McGinn told his supporters in what sounded at points almost like a concession speech.  But as supporters yelled no, McGinn added, “But there’s more votes. We’re not done.”

McGinn finished up his remarks by saying the last four years had made him “the happiest in the world.”

McGinn, while the incumbent, found himself in the position of underdog in this race. It could be because he’s been dogged by criticism that he’s a somewhat thorny mayor — willing to go to the mat for issues he vehemently supports — and he’s faced criticism concerning downtown safety and the police department’s use of excessive force that brought the Department of Justice to town to try to rectify the situation.

Murray, on the other hand, could be viewed as an establishment wonk who has 18 years of experience as a state lawmaker under his belt but no experience managing a large, metropolitan city, although he can lay claim to penning Referendum 74 which legalized same-sex marriage in the state. He says he will be more collaborative than McGinn, but a look at a lot of his proposed agenda items don’t differ all that much from McGinn’s — each candidate says they favor more public transit and universal kindergarten, for example, so this one is really up to the voter’s to decide who they are more comfortable with taking over the reins of the city.

Initiative 522: Losing 53-47% with 811,356 votes counted.

In what could be the most expensive political campaign in the state’s history — it’s been reported that more than $30 million has been spent and most of it came from out-of-state donors — this hotly contentious issue was shot down in California’s general election last year, and if it did pass here, Washington would lay claim to being the first state in the country to require labeling on genetically modified foods. Pundits believe I-522 will get a supportive nod on the western side of the state, but the rest of Washington, including its agricultural heartland, could easily step up and swing this to a no vote.

‘Good Jobs Initiative’:  Winning 54-46% with 3,283 votes counted in city of SeaTac. Could the small burg of SeaTac set a national precedent? It could if the initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for airport and hotel workers passes. The measure, prompted by frustration over a lack of a federal wage increase initiative, isn’t just on Washington state’s ballot as New Jersey, Alaska, South Dakota and Idaho either have it on the ballot or are working to gather signatures. It’s also a main platform issue for socialist city council candidate Kshama Sawant — she’s considered an outsider in the race, but a number of low-earning workers should rally behind her calls for a higher minimum wage, public transit expansion, affordable housing and other socially driven agenda items.

For a list of the candidates and issues on the ballot, go the King County website. And hang on — the first ballot results will be released shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday. After that you can see King County results here, county results here and statewide results here.


Mayor’s race: Comcast vs. faster, cheaper Internet?

gigabitSEATTLE — A story in the Washington Post connecting mayoral hopeful Ed Murray to contributions from Internet provider Comcast set the Internet and the Mike McGinn campaign into a frenzy Wednesday, with some alleging that a vote for Murray may be a vote against faster, cheaper web access in Seattle.

According to the Washington Post, Comcast has donated more than $10,000 dollars to PACs that have given to Murray. The speculation is Comcast hopes to stall a McGinn-backed initiative that would bring faster, cheaper internet to some Seattle neighborhoods with a McGinn loss.

McGinn has proposed a pilot project that would partner the city with Internet service provider Gigabit Squared and the University of Washington to lease a fiber and broadband network lines that provide for superaaccelerated internet.  With the partnership in place, the mayor put in requests to begin the process of offering gigabit speed service to more than 50,000 Seattle households by early 2014.

The gigabit service would cost homes about $45 a month plus a one time installation cost. Comcast currently charges $114.99 a month for a 105 Mbps service in Seattle.

Prior to the Washington Post article, Murray had not vigorously touted cheaper broadband internet as one of his primary concerns in the campaign. Speculation arose — led by McGinn and other online sites such as Reddit — that by indirectly accepting money from Comcast, Murray would slow down any initiative to bring gigabit Internet to other areas of the city.

Murray’s campaign released this statement Friday following the Washington Post’s article:

“A story posted online on the Washington Post web site yesterday incorrectly implies that Ed Murray might not be supportive of citywide high speed broadband because Comcast has contributed to his campaign. As we made clear to the reporter yesterday — and as the article reports — Ed does support the City’s current efforts with Gigabit Squared to create a high speed broadband network. Unfortunately, the article then goes on to speculate that Ed might decide in the future not to support an expansion of the current City plan (to provide service in 14 neighborhoods). That speculation is simply wrong. Ed thinks competition is a good thing, and supports the creation of a citywide high speed broadband network.”

Comcast has denied that money donated to various PACs — such as People for a New Seattle Mayor and Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy — was meant to directly support Murray. The Post article even declined to say that Comcast’s donations were enough to put McGinn out of office. And even if Murray won, Post reporter Andrea Peterson said, Gigabit’s Squared and the city’s plan to bring faster Internet to Seattle would not be halted.

But it could definitely be slowed.

“A loss for McGinn on Tuesday probably won’t mean the end of Gigabit Squared’s work in the Seattle metro area,” Peterson wrote. “Though it could curtail Gigabit Squared’s plans to expand to other parts of Seattle. More importantly, though, if Comcast’s donations help Murray defeat McGinn, it will send a powerful message to mayors in other American cities considering initiatives to increase broadband competition.”

pollSEATTLE — State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, leads Mayor Mike McGinn by 17 percentage points in the Nov. 5 mayoral race, according to a new public poll released Monday by Strategies 360, a nonpartisan communications and research firm.  The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9%.

The live telephone survey of 400 likely voters was conducted Oct. 14-16, said Strategies 360, which says it is not supporting either candidate and that none of its clients paid for the polling.

The research firm said Murray led McGinn 51-34% despite respondents’ positive view of the city’s economy; 73 percent of those surveyed said the economy of Seattle was in good shape. However, only 48 percent said things in the city are generally moving in the right direction, while 46 percent had mixed opinions or said the city was on the wrong track.

The starkest difference between the two candidates was in their favorability ratings. Just 12 percent of respondents view Murray unfavorably, the firm says, while McGinn was viewed unfavorably by 42 percent. By contrast, 60 percent had a favorable impression of Murray compared with 47 percent for McGinn.

McGinn and Murray were running roughly even among voters between 18 and 44, but Murray enjoyed a substantial lead among older voters, the firm said.