News :: Politics

In Liberal Seattle, Mayoral Race Hinges on Style

by Mike Baker
Tuesday Nov 5, 2013
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Openly gay mayoral candidate Sen. Ed Murray.
Openly gay mayoral candidate Sen. Ed Murray.  (Source:AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seattle’s mayoral candidates are fairly similar when it comes to their policy views, so voters returning their ballots Tuesday may be left to choose between styles as both men position themselves as the more liberal choice for voters in the Northwest’s largest city.

Mayor Mike McGinn and challenger Ed Murray, both Democrats, have campaigned this year in support of a $15 minimum wage, new taxes and legal marijuana. They each have lengthy backgrounds championing liberal causes in the Seattle area.

Before becoming mayor, McGinn was an activist with the environmental group Sierra Club, and he has continued to stake out a message of environmental stewardship. McGinn often rides his bike around Seattle, is pushing for pension fund money to be divested from coal companies and is an advocate for expanded transit services.

Murray is a longtime state lawmaker who for years led efforts to legalize gay marriage in the state. He’s also led efforts to broker major deals in Olympia, such as two transportation revenue packages that were passed in 2003 and 2005. If elected, he would be Seattle’s first openly gay mayor.

In the campaign, the two candidates offered a contrast in their strategies for pushing policies. Murray said McGinn’s approach has alienated groups and political leaders in Olympia, making it harder for Seattle to win support for its priorities. McGinn has questioned Murray’s effectiveness given that a Republican-dominated majority now controls the state Senate.

Combined, Murray and McGinn have raised and spent more than $1 million, with Murray leading the money race by a few hundred thousand dollars.

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