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November 5, 2013 at 7:18 AM
State Sen. Ed Murray’s promise of a more collaborative leadership style carried him to victory Tuesday night, as voters signaled they were fed up with four years of Mayor Mike McGinn’s political brawls.
Murray grabbed a commanding 56 percent of the votes counted on election night, compared with 43 percent for McGinn.
At a jubilant party at Neumos on Capitol Hill, Murray took the stage before 9 p.m. to cheers and hugs from supporters, including a pack of elected leaders who’d endorsed him.
Signaling the change in tone he hopes to bring to City Hall, Murray said his campaign “was energized by the belief that Seattle can show the nation that government can work once again.”
Although he acknowledged votes remain to be counted, Murray said if current trends hold, “we are here tonight to declare victory.”
About 90,000 votes were counted in the mayor’s race Tuesday. If King County elections officials’ estimate of 57 percent turnout in Seattle hold, McGinn would have to capture 54 percent or more of the remaining votes to make up his big deficit — a virtually impossible task.
At McGinn’s election-night party at a 95 Slide, a sports bar just a few blocks away, the previously rowdy room was deflated as the vote totals came in.
McGinn stopped just short of conceding, but spoke as though he’d lost his office. “I’m proud of what we did,” McGinn said, saying his administration had lived up to the Sierra Club rule to “leave a place better than you found it.”
In an interview, McGinn said he was not conceding to Murray Tuesday because his supporters deserved to see more votes counted. But he acknowledged “this is a very very deep hole to climb back from.”
Murray, 58, will be Seattle’s first openly gay mayor, and his campaign capitalized on his signature legislative accomplishment — helping to lead the 2012 campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. He took the stage Tuesday night with Michael Shiosaki, his longtime partner whom he married this summer.
Although he was the incumbent, McGinn ran an underdog campaign for a second term, portraying himself as the righteous warrior willing to take on the city’s business and political establishment.
Trailing in the polls by double digits just weeks before the general election, McGinn’s campaign bet on an energetic get-out-the-vote effort that sought to attract younger voters and others who don’t reliably vote in off-year elections.
At dozens of candidate forums and three televised debates, McGinn, 53, cited accomplishments in office including guiding the city through a recession, doubling the Families and Education levy, a bond measure to rebuild the waterfront seawall and passage of a paid sick-leave ordinance.
But voters remained unconvinced. During the August primary, McGinn faced eight challengers and attracted less than 30 percent of the vote. Polls since then never showed him gaining much ground.
In the final days of the race, the Murray campaign appeared increasingly nervous by a run of bad news, including negative reports about political donations by Comcast to a pro-Murray political-action committee.
After seeming ready to coast to victory, Murray hastily called a series of last-minute news conferences, including one Monday attacking McGinn’s record on downtown crime and police issues.
McGinn’s fate was forecast two years ago, when voters slapped back his efforts to obstruct the Highway 99 tunnel project, opting to move ahead with the long-debated project. McGinn’s anti-tunnel agitating was viewed as a reversal from his 2009 election-eve pledge not to stand in the project’s way.
One political consultant called McGinn a “dead man walking” after the 2011 vote on a largely symbolic tunnel referendum.
During the 2013 campaign, McGinn said he’d only tried to raise tough questions about the tunnel plan, including a provision added by the Legislature that said Seattle taxpayers would be on the hook if there were any cost overruns.
McGinn’s record in office also includes highly publicized fights with the City Council, City Attorney Pete Holmes and former Gov. Chris Gregoire over the tunnel and with the Department of Justice, the council and Holmes over the breadth and pace of police reform.
Gregoire, Holmes and five of nine City Council members endorsed Murray. When asked about their opposition in a recent interview, McGinn said they were part of “the same old power block” that financed Murray’s campaign.
McGinn pushed back against Murray’s constant talk of collaboration, saying leaders should demand swift action on important issues such as climate change rather than waiting for consensus. At one candidate forum, McGinn said he didn’t want to tell his children “we didn’t do enough, but the politicians got along.”
Murray came across flat in some campaign appearances, but advanced a progressive agenda nearly identical to McGinn’s — including expanded transit and a promise to pursue a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
He highlighted his 18 years as a state lawmaker representing Seattle’s 43rd Legislative District. In Olympia, he earned a reputation as a pragmatist who could work across party lines to craft budgets and major transportation packages.
Murray spoke often about the need for the city to take a more regional approach to governance and to mend broken relationships with Olympia, in contrast to McGinn’s often go-it-alone style.
And while McGinn frequently cited statistics to show that overall crime in the city was at a 30-year low, Murray called for new leadership of the Seattle Police Department and clearer directions from the mayor about enforcement of crime downtown.
Murray raised about $776,000 for the campaign, compared with about $466,000 by McGinn.
Independent spending by political-action committees added $500,000 more to the races — with more than $300,000 of that spent by pro-Murray groups.
Although he faced criticism throughout the campaign that he was running on style more than substance, Murray gained confidence and familiarity with city issues as the race wore on and both men attended community forums and three televised debates.
By mid-October, when McGinn repeated his explanation for his sometimes tumultuous first term by saying there is no mayor’s school, Murray retorted, “There is a mayor’s school. It’s called experience in government.”
For more photos, visit the gallery.
October 28, 2013 at 2:34 PM
First, it smashed the record for fundraising by a campaign opposing a statewide ballot measure.
Now, No on 522 holds the title for most money raised by any initiative campaign in Washington state history, period.
Bankrolled by out-of-state biochemical corporations and food industry heavyweights, the campaign trying to defeat GMO labeling Initiative 522 on Saturday broke the $21 million mark in total contributions, the latest campaign reports to Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) show.
In the process, the No camp surpassed Washington’s previous high mark of money raised by any initiative campaign. The old record — set in 2011 by Costco-backed supporters of the liquor-privatizing Initiative 1183 — was $20.1 million.
The No on 522 campaign reached record ground fueled by last week’s contributions of $3.8 million from the food-industry PAC the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and $460,000 from biochemical giant Dupont Pioneer.
With $11 million in cash contributions so far, the GMA remains the No campaign’s top donor. The food-industry group — financed by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills, NestleUSA and Conagra Foods among others — only revealed its own funders this month after Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued it for campaign disclosure violations.
Other top donors to the No campaign include Monsanto ($4.8 million), DuPont Pioneer ($3.9 million), Bayer Cropscience and Dow Agrosciences ($592,000 each).
October 21, 2013 at 11:57 AM
Initiative 522 – the statewide ballot measure to require labeling of genetically engineered foods – is clinging to a slight lead heading into the final two weeks before Election Day.
But momentum has clearly shifted against the measure, thanks to a barrage of opposition advertisements over the last month.
Or so says Seattle pollster Stuart Elway, whose latest poll on the Washington initiative has I-522 winning 46 to 42 percent, with still 12 percent of voters undecided.
“If you were calling it today, you’d say it’s still going to pass,” Elway said Monday. “But the momentum shift — how’s that going to play out? And, it’s still within the margin of error.”
I-522’s four-point advantage falls within the poll’s margin of error of 5 percent, meaning the race is too close to call.
Campaign officials on either side of the measure touted Elway’s latest polling.
October 1, 2013 at 11:08 AM
Foes of Initiative 522 – the ballot measure seeking to require labels on genetically engineered foods — still have more than a month to go before they’ll know whether their anti-labeling arguments will prevail at the ballot box.
But already, they’ve won top honors in at least one Washington election category: Raising money against a statewide initiative.
As of late Monday, the No on 522 Committee’s funding totals surged to $17.2 million, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.
The new total has shattered the state record for most money raised in opposing a statewide ballot measure, PDC figures show. The previous record was set in 2011 by opponents of the liquor sales privatization Initiative 1183.
The more than $20 million raised by the 2011 campaign supporting the measure to privatize liquor sales, funded largely by Costco and other retailers, still tops the PDC’s list for total money raised by any statewide initiative campaign (for or against).
Meantime, the Yes on I-522 Committee received another $500,000 donation from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the latest reports show. That brings the pro-labeling side’s funding totals to $4.8 million.
When combining totals for both campaigns, the $21.9 million in contributions raised so far in the I-522 race has surged into second place all-time in Washington for collective money raised in a ballot measure campaign.
Initiative 522 would require food producers to disclose on the front of food packages whether some foods were produced using genetically engineered ingredients.
Largely bankrolled by five out-of-state corporations and a trade group, the No campaign’s fundraising totals jumped this week behind a single $5 million contribution from the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
The GMA, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group for the food industry, is now the single biggest contributor to the No campaign, collectively donating $7.2 million to date. Biochemical companies Monsanto and Dupont Pioneer also have donated $4.8 million and $3.2 million respectively, records show.
Dr. Bronner’s, the California-based soap company, is the pro-labeling campaign’s largest donor, in all giving about $2 million to the Yes camp so far.
Here’s a look at how I-522 fundraising stacks up all-time:
Most money raised opposing a statewide ballot measure
1. $17,168,234: Initiative 522 on labeling genetically engineered foods, 2013*
2. $12,351,656: Initiative 1183 on privatizing liquor sales, 2011
3. $11,567,117: Referendum 67 on insurance reform, 2007
4. $6,612,582: Initiative 892 on expanding nontribal gambling, 2004
5. $6,465,664: Initiative 330 on health-care liability reform, 2005
Most money raised in a statewide ballot-measure campaign by both sides
1. $32,466,982: Initiative 1183 on privatizing liquor sales, 2011
2. $21,855,003: Initiative 522 on labeling genetically engineered foods, 2013*
3. $17,759,849: Referendum 74 on same- sex marriage, 2012
4. $16,469,457: Initiative 1107 on ending sales tax on candy and soda, 2010
5. $15,978,861: Initiative 330 on health-care liability reform, 2005
*Through Sept. 30, 2013
Public Disclosure Commission
August 7, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Vote tallies remain virtually unchanged in Seattle mayoral, council races after Wednesday’s ballot drop
Results in Seattle’s mayoral primary contest remained virtually unchanged after the latest ballot counts Wednesday.
State Sen. Ed Murray is still holding more than 30 percent of the vote, with incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn’s tally creeping above 27.5 percent – about four tenths of a percent higher than where he stood after Tuesday’s counts.
In all, Murray so far has tallied 33,585 votes to McGinn’s 30,584 votes.
Former Seattle City Councilman Peter Steinbrueck and Bruce Harrell continued to run a distant third and fourth place, with each still garnering more than 16 percent and 15 percent respectively.
Steinbrueck, who declined to concede the race late Tuesday, softened his position early Wednesday. Though he’d not officially thrown in the towel yet, Steinbrueck had called both Murray and McGinn to congratulate them.
In the Seattle City Council Pos. 2 contest, incumbent Councilman Richard Conlin’s vote count fell to below 49 percent on Wednesday, as his general election challengerm Kshama Sawant, climbed to nearly 34 percent of total votes counted so far. In all, Sawant, who is running as a Socialist Alternative, has garnered 33,520 votes. Conlin has 48,586.
Wednesday’s results include votes from about 18,000 more ballots counted since Tuesday’s primary deadline for submitting ballots. In all, King County Elections officials have tallied 112,880 votes in Seattle city races as of Wednesday. Officials will continue to count ballots until the primary election is certified on Aug. 20.
Full results can be found here.
August 6, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Compiled from staff reports
State Sen. Ed Murray and incumbent Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn emerged from a crowded primary field Tuesday and appear headed for a General Election showdown come November.
Seattle’s mayoral frontrunners headlined a primary election ballot in King County with few surprises after initial ballot counts Tuesday.
Murray, who garnered more than 30 percent of Tuesday’s counts, is leading McGinn by nearly three percentage points with still about half of all votes to be tallied.
Murray, speaking to supporters at the Crocodile Cafe late Tuesday, said the real race had only just begun.
“One thing is clear from today’s results: The people of Seattle want new leadership,” he said. (more…)
August 6, 2013 at 8:52 PM
Times staff writer Lornet Turnbull filed this report from Bruce Harrell’s campaign headquarters:
A pall fell over the room as the results flashed on a screen, showing Harrell in fourth place. A disappointed Harrell reminded his supporters that he’s still in office and isn’t going anywhere. He said, “I’ve never lost a race so I’m a little short of words. I’m never at a loss for words.”
In the end he said he had fun.
“It was a great race and I think my message resonated.” He said he believes the result show that voters “want change and a new mayor, too.”
“Murray is doing well. He has a lot of money behind his campaign.”
He said he met many people on Tuesday who weren’t aware the ballots were due today.
“I continue to think many voters are low informed. They didn’t have a great opportunity to know one (candidate) from another.”
Murray has been in office a long time and McGinn’s the incumbent.”
Asked about a future run, Harrell said he takes one race at a time and hadn’t thought about what he would do if he lost.
He said, “I certainly have a promising political career ahead of me, so I’ve not ruled out any possibilities.”
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