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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

July 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Mayoral PAC fight: groups backing McGinn and Murray receive big checks

Post updated at 11:15 a.m. with news of Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce donation to pro-Murray PAC.

Dueling political action committees backing Mayor Mike McGinn and state Sen. Ed Murray are escalating the money battle in Seattle’s mayoral race as the Aug. 6 primary draws near.

On Monday, a union backing McGinn committed $50,000 and registered as a PAC for Seattle’s coming election, according to filings with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC).

Meanwhile, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s political arm cut a $25,000 check to the PAC supporting Murray’s mayoral bid.

UNITE HERE Local 8, the union representing thousands of local hotel and restaurant workers, endorsed McGinn in April, citing his work on Seattle’s paid sick-leave law and championing of a new job-creating NBA arena. Erik Van Rossum, the union’s president, called McGinn “the most progressive mayor in America” in its endorsement — a refrain that McGinn has repeatedly trumpeted at campaign appearances.

The $50,000 check on Monday came from the local union’s parent organization in New York, according to the campaign filing.

Stefan Moritz, political director of UNITE HERE Local 8, said McGinn has demonstrated he cares about the wage and housing affordability concerns of bellhops, housekeepers and other hospitality workers in Seattle. “The mayor has truly championed our situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, People for Ed Murray, the PAC created to back Murray’s campaign, continues to rack up big donations. The group reported $19,250 in new contributions on Monday, including $5,000 from the Washington Beverage Association PAC and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund out of Washington, D.C. In all, the pro-Murray PAC has raised more than $43,000 — and more big donations are expected in the coming days.

And while it hasn’t shown up yet in SEEC filings, the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (the Seattle chamber’s political committee) gave $25,000 to the pro-Murray PAC on Monday. The business group endorsed Murray last month, citing his “commitment to fair and predictable regulation” and his ability to bring together “broad bipartisan coalitions” around big issues, from gay marriage to transportation.

These groups can loom large in Seattle elections because they are not bound by the normal $700-per-donor limit on political contributions to candidate campaigns. Donors can give as much as they please to the PACs — and it’s perfectly legal so long as there is no coordination between the independent committees and the candidate campaigns.

Comments | More in 2014 elections | Topics: 2013 Seattle mayoral race, ed murray, independent expenditure


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