Former King County Executive Ron Sims Thursday threw his support in the Seattle mayor’s race to State Sen. Ed Murray, citing Murray’s ability to build coalitions to improve transportation and the city’s schools.
“I really was enthusiastic about endorsing him. I want him to be the next mayor of Seattle,” said Sims, who retired last year as Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Speaking at Murray’s campaign headquarters on Capitol Hill, Sims praised Murray’s vision and leadership and said Murray was the only politician to approach him about solving problems in the city’s schools, rather than as an African American politician with clout in the black community. Sims noted that other mayors including New York City’s Michael Bloomberg and Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, had gotten involved in improving their city’s public schools.
“They know if you don’t have great schools, you can’t have a great city,” Sims said.
Sims also pointed to Murray’s work in the Legislature to win transportation funding for light rail, buses and to replace the Highway 99 viaduct with a deep-bore tunnel.
“He’s the one person able to form a coalition and get transportation done,” Sims said.
Sims had contemplated jumping into the crowded mayor’s race earlier this spring and in one early poll was even leading, despite not being a candidate. Murray called Sims’ support “the most significant endorsement I will receive during the race.”
Murray has picked up a string of key endorsements this week, including from the Greater Metropolitan Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Conservation Voters.
The Sims endorsement will be a particular disappointment to City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who has described Sims as a friend and a mentor. Mayor Mike McGinn has also sought the votes of the city’s ethnic and immigrant communities.
In endorsing Murray, Sims said he wasn’t “anti-McGinn.” But he did say that under McGinn’s leadership the city has “lost its flash” and ran the risk of ending up a city in decline such as Gary, Ind. or Cleveland. And he said the current bickering and tension in city government makes it a less appealing place for the federal government to make investments.
“Seattle had a reputation in the past as being able to pull the whole region behind it. Those coalitions are gone. It’s hard to pull people together, but Senator Murray has proven he can do it again and again.”