by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
State Sen. Ed Murray led the field in the August 6 Seattle mayoral primary, with incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn coming in second place. The two will face off in the November 5 general election.
At press time, Murray, who would be Seattle's first openly Gay mayor, leads McGinn by about 3,000 votes out of 112,880 cast, or 30.38% for Murray as opposed to 27.58% for McGinn.
Former Seattle City Council member Peter Steinbrueck and current member Bruce Harrell made up the second tier of candidates, with 16.26% and 15.25% of the vote, respectively. All the other challengers finished in single digits. Since election night, Murray and McGinn have widened their lead over their seven opponents as ballots continue to be counted.
MOST OPPOSE McGINN
Steinbrueck and Harrell ran as critics of the incumbent, just as Murray did, allowing the frontrunner to conclude that the vast majority of voters had rejected McGinn's administration.
'One thing is clear from today's results, the people of Seattle want new leadership,' Murray told a cheering crowd of supporters at his election night party at the Crocodile, in Belltown.
Former City Council member Jim Compton went even further, telling the Seattle Times, 'This result means that Ed Murray will be the next mayor of Seattle.'
Although it may be too early to predict how the Steinbrueck and Harrell voters will break in November, it seems likely that the substantial 'not-McGinn' vote could coalesce around Murray and sweep him into office.
EXPERIENCE GAP VAST
Although Murray is the challenger in the race for mayor, his political experience is far greater than McGinn's.
The incumbent was elected by a narrow margin in 2009 in his first-ever try for public office. Murray, on the other hand, has served 18 years in the state legislature, representing the 43rd District first as a representative and then as a senator. Even before that, he learned the nuts and bolts of city government serving as an aide to Seattle City Council member Martha Choe.
On the campaign trail, Murray pointed to his record working with conservative Republicans to pass state budgets. Murray also played a leading role in passing two of the state's biggest gas-tax-funded transportation packages for highways and transit.
While McGinn has tried to portray Murray as the candidate of the 'establishment' - a curious claim for any incumbent to make - Murray says his political skills, honed over his 18 years in the legislature, will make him a more effective mayor.
MAYOR SEEN AS DIVISIVE
'Too often in recent years, it has seemed that Seattle's success has come despite our city government, not because of it. Too often in recent years, this city has been divided and polarized. With your help, I intend to change that,' Murray said at his election night party, echoing a theme he frequently brought up in the campaign.
'I'm not running to be a Gay mayor of Seattle ... I'm not running to be a progressive mayor of Seattle ... I'm running to be an effective mayor!' he added.
Murray says McGinn has been a divisive figure, a charge substantiated by former governor Christine Gregoire and current Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, both of whom endorsed Murray after very public feuds with the incumbent.
McGinn, on the other hand, called Murray out for his supposedly cautious style.
'You know where I stand,' McGinn said. 'You know who I stand with. Now we're going out into the general election and the question will be, what does the city stand for?'
DOWN THE BALLOT
In other primary election results, four-term Seattle City Council incumbent Richard Conlin will face Trotskyist Kshama Sawant in the November general election. Conlin took 48.8% of the vote to Sawant's 33.67%. The third candidate in the race, Brian Carver, finished with 17.01%.
In the other Seattle City Council primary race, McGinn ally Mike O'Brien polled a convincing 57.94% of the vote. His closest challenger, Albert Shen, drew 34.85% and third-place finisher David Ishii got only 6.66%. O'Brien and Shen will face off in November.
In county races, incumbent King County Executive Dow Constantine drew a whopping 76.02% of the votes. He will face Allen Lobdell in the November election. Lobdell polled a mere 12.15% of the votes. Also in the race were Everett Stewart (7.24%) and the charmingly wacky perennial candidate Goodspaceguy (4.08%).
In the race to fill the King County Council seat vacated when Bob Ferguson was elected Attorney General last year, appointed incumbent Rod Dembowski pulled in 70.22% of the vote. His closest challenger, Naomi Wilson, who he will face in November, polled 23.54%. Third-place finisher John Fray got 5.6%.
In the Eastside 9th King County Council District, incumbent Reagan Dunn, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Attorney General in 2012, got 55.85% of the vote. Second-place candidate Shari Song (34.76%) will face Dunn in November. Kristina Macomber ran third with 8.6% of the vote.
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