Volunteers urgently needed as Seattle mayoral race heats up
by James Whitely -
SGN Staff Writer
On the evening of Monday, June 24, State Sen. Ed Murray (D-43), primary sponsor of Washington's successful marriage equality bill, officially opened a headquarters office in Capitol Hill for his bid to become Seattle's next mayor. All of the phone-banking and canvassing for his campaign will be based out of this office, located at 501 E. Pike St.
Speaking atop a soapbox at the grand opening, Murray seemed in an excited and jocular mood.
'You've been invited to a political event and you don't have to write a check!' exclaimed the mayoral hopeful to a crowd of about 60 supporters. More than 100 people filtered in and out throughout the evening.
Murray announced that his campaign is now only $5,000 behind Mayor Mike McGinn in fundraising, while also pointing out that McGinn has been raising money since the beginning of the year, but his campaign has only been at it for three weeks.
PRIMED FOR BATTLE
Already, Murray for Mayor Headquarters looks ready for a knock-down, drag-out fight as the primary race heads into its final weeks.
The exterior and interior of the office boast a plethora of campaign signs and extra interior decorations further compliment the yellow and blue color scheme - Murray's campaign colors. Posted on the walls are a map of the state, a handmade banner that reads 'Days until ballots drop: 24,' a handwritten list of phone-bank tips (the first of which is 'Smile while you dial'), the American flag, the Washington state flag, and several Pride flags. If Murray moves on from the August 6 primary and wins in November, he will be the first openly Gay mayor of Seattle.
Murray said that Seattle politics recently have been a 'contentious environment.' He highlighted his campaign goals and acknowledged that other candidates have similar goals. 'The difference,' said Murray, 'is that I know how to collaborate.'
The hopeful then highlighted what he's done during his time in the Senate to justify his claim. Murray has pushed through all kinds of legislation, from marriage equality to transportation, working with Republicans while trying to minimize cuts to social services.
'I have learned how to bring people together to get things done,' said Murray.
As the candidate's back pocket began to vibrate, he joked, 'I think McGinn's calling.'
'He's been a really phenomenal legislator and I think he'll be a phenomenal mayor,' said Maggie Thompson, Murray's campaign manager.
Thompson, who served as regional field director for West King County for the Approve Referendum 74 campaign, seems a fitting pick by Murray. During that campaign, she worked as the chief staff member at the Capitol Hill Action Center housed at Gay City Health Project, a few doors down from Murray's new campaign office, where she coordinated phone banks and various other volunteer-based campaign support.
On any given day, Murray for Mayor Headquarters will house four staff members along with a combination of about 15 volunteers and interns. Volunteer run phone banks will run every Tuesday and Thursday; canvassing will take place every Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. Other office volunteer shifts (such as data entry) are also available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
After a quick meeting with Thompson, Murray personally greeted all in attendance, shaking hands with new friends, embracing old ones, and chatting with his volunteers and interns, many of whom are young.
'Our youngest intern is a 15-year-old girl who's doing extra credit,' said Kevin Geiger, Murray's finance director.
During his short speech, Murray called his staff 'the best campaign staff of any.'
KEEPING IT CLOSE
A May 20 poll for the mayoral primary conducted by KING-TV, Seattle's NBC affiliate, showed McGinn with 22% approval and Murray third with 15%. Both candidates had raised over $200,000 at the time of the poll. Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell had raised just over $200,000 as well, but polled at 12%. The other major contender for mayor, former Seattle City Council member Peter Steinbrueck, polled at 17%, placing him in second, although he has raised significantly less money than the other candidates when the poll was taken. Ballots for the August 6 primary election will begin posting in mid-July. The top two vote-getters will advance to the November election.
Murray for Mayor Headquarters is located at 501 E. Pike St., on the corner of Pike and Summit. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Drop by to learn more about volunteer opportunities. You can also learn more about his campaign online at http://murray4mayor.com.
'Keep coming to volunteer,' said Thompson. 'We'd love to utilize you to make sure that Ed becomes our next mayor.'
MARCH WITH MURRAY
Murray will likely be out and about for most of the weekend speaking to constituents at the various Pride celebrations. He's also encouraging supporters to march with him in the Pride parade. To walk with Ed, be downtown on 4th Avenue, between Marion and Columbia streets, at 9:30 a.m. sharp on Sunday. All those marching with Ed are encouraged to wear blue and yellow.
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