McGinn Concedes, Reflects On Frustrating Moments As Mayor

Nov 7, 2013

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn conceded the race to his challenger Ed Murray on Thursday. Meanwhile Murray said he wants to resign his state senate seat as soon as possible so he can focus on his transition to City Hall.

Dueling Letters

McGinn concedes, saying he's offered to help his replacement Ed Murray in any way possible.
McGinn concedes, saying he's offered to help his replacement Ed Murray in any way possible.
Credit Amy Radil

Speaking at his campaign headquarters in the International District, McGinn recalled his worst day as mayor -- one that was indicative of his tumultuous relationships with other city officials. McGinn said it was the day City Attorney Pete Holmes released a letter criticizing him just as he entered secret mediation with the Department of Justice on police reform.

McGinn said Holmes had given the letter to city council members and their staffs. “That’s like giving it to you guys,” he told reporters. So as he headed into the mediation session, he said he was worried about how the reform plan would affect Seattle’s budget and public safety. “And I am now heading in there with absolutely no bargaining leverage.”

Over a year later, McGinn is still fuming about the incident. He said Justice Department officials, including US Attorney Jenny Durkan, also took the “pretty unusual” step of writing another letter criticizing him during the mayoral campaign. The letter disputed McGinn’s claim that he fought to create the Community Police Commission. McGinn said his comments weren’t intended as an attack on Justice Department negotiators.

Changing The Debate

McGinn said he counts many successes from his term in office, saying most importantly he “changed the debate.” He said the agenda he ran on has been embraced by the city and by Ed Murray, from transit to the education levy.

McGinn termed Murray “an impressive candidate.” But McGinn said Murray’s common refrain that he will collaborate more effectively with other leaders may not be enough to get things done.  “’Cause there will come a moment where you’ve got to take sides and you’re going to make somebody angry, you’re going to disappoint somebody. And I think that’s the question for our new mayor,” McGinn said.

Murray responded that as a legislator he’s well-acquainted with bruising disputes, especially since he chaired the House Budget Committee.

“I have no problem making decisions and taking sides. You don’t get out of any political process with everybody happy. If you do, then it didn’t mean anything,” Murray said. 

Murray's Transition Team

Ed Murray announces leaders of his transition team.
Ed Murray announces leaders of his transition team.
Credit Amy Radil

Murray on Thursday unveiled the co-chairs of his transition team, Dwight Dively and Martha Choe, who are colleagues from his time working at Seattle City Council.

Murray worked for Choe when she sat on the council. Murray said Dively worked for the council’s central staff and helped him understand the budget process. Murray said his transition team will strike a balance between political insiders and new faces. 

“We’ve seen in Washington, D.C., particularly in the House, when you don’t have people with experience, what you run into," he said. "At the same time, our transition committee will consist of folks who haven’t been involved in government, folks – particularly younger people or grassroots people – who are on the ground and are not involved in City Hall.”

Choe is currently chief administrative officer at the Gates Foundation; Dively oversees budgets for King County. The transition team will occupy an office in the Seattle Municipal Tower.