Wash. State Senator Ed Murray Explores Run For Mayor

Dec 6, 2012

Another high-profile candidate says he’s interested in becoming the next Seattle mayor.  This time, it’s state Senator Ed Murray, a Democrat from Seattle.   

As an openly gay lawmaker, Murray may be best known for championing the state’s marriage equality law.  But in an interview, he touted his experience as a Democratic leader in the state Senate. Murray said he has “the ability to bring people together, around very controversial issues, and find a way to reach agreement and move forward.”

Unlike the other candidates in the mayoral race, Murray’s campaign is not a done deal. He’s only formed an exploratory committee to help decide whether to run in the 2013 election.

Still, the timing is important. By announcing his intentions this week, Murray can raise money, at least until next Saturday when the state starts to ban some officials from accepting campaign contributions.

In the previous two races for Seattle mayor, no challenger had announced their campaigns at this point in the race.

Murray’s known rivals so far are Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess and Charlie Staadecker, a Seattle real estate broker.

It’s not unprecedented for challengers to declare their mayoral campaigns almost a year before the election, but it’s not exactly common either.  In the previous two races for Seattle mayor, no challenger had announced their campaigns at this point in the race.

As for incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn, some observers say that three challengers this early in the season illustrates the notion that McGinn is in a weak position.

Matt Barreto, a pollster and political science professor at the University of Washington, noted that some of McGinn’s former supporters have come out and said they’re looking for new leadership.  “It’s not necessarily the strongest position to be in as you’re getting ready to seek re-election,” he said.

McGinn has not said whether he definitely plans to run again, but he has been holding a lot of press conferences -- three over the past seven days.  When asked if the press conferences meant he was in re-election mode he responded, “I’ve always made myself available to the media for questions and probably even more available than even I knew was possible when I started."

A spokesman for McGinn says the mayor will discuss the issue with his family over the holidays and will make a definitive announcement about his plans in early January.