Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn plans an announcement Wednesday afternoon about his political future, and it's expected he'll say he's seeking re-election, with three big-name opponents already waiting to challenge him.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn plans an announcement Wednesday afternoon about his political future, and it’s expected he’ll say he’s seeking re-election, with three big-name opponents already waiting to challenge him.
If he wants a second term, McGinn’s primary task will be to reverse the public narrative that his first has been a disaster. Critics say he alienated the city’s business community and burned political capital in his unsuccessful fight against the Highway 99 tunnel. They say he fought incessantly with the Seattle City Council and had too few allies to get much done.
McGinn, who has scheduled the announcement at 12:30 p.m., will counter with a list of accomplishments. He made an arena deal to attract an NBA team back to Seattle, he doubled the Families and Education Levy, and he fought Backpage.com ads he said perpetuated child prostitution.
“If I were him, I would run on his record,” said Lisa Daugaard, a supervisor at The Defender Association who has worked with McGinn’s administration on public-safety and social-justice projects. Despite his reputation as “a bomb-thrower,” she said, McGinn’s administration has changed the culture at City Hall.
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“It is not difficult to reach people in the mayor’s office and have a substantive conversation,” she said. “They’ve prioritized style. That’s not a small thing. It means that ideas that are not their ideas to start with make their way into the water supply at City Hall.”
McGinn’s competition already is talking about effectiveness.
State Sen. Ed Murray raised more than $100,000 in nine days after getting into the race last month. Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess and former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck also are running, and both have easily won citywide campaigns before. Former King County Executive Ron Sims and City Councilmember Bruce Harrell also might run. Real-estate broker Charlie Staadecker and neighborhood activist Kate Martin have filed to run.
Now that he is the incumbent, McGinn’s campaign is likely to be less a homespun operation than it was in 2009. He’s already hired some professional staff members for a campaign. Still, McGinn said he will focus on impressing individual voters rather than groups.
In a recent interview, he said: “The voters will determine who’s gonna be the best mayor, and that’s who I’m directing my attention to.”
Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @EmilyHeffter.