Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s backers could have abandoned him immediately after one man in a lawsuit and two other men went public with their allegations of child sexual abuse. But they didn’t, instead giving Murray several weeks to make the case that he remains a viable candidate for a second term.
The filing period during which Seattle Mayor Ed Murray must officially declare his candidacy for re-election is a week away.
In other words, the pressure is on.
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“There isn’t really a precedent for this in the city’s political history,” said David Rolf, an influential labor-union leader and important, longtime Murray supporter.
“There’s nothing in the instruction manual about a situation like this.”
The mayor’s backers could have abandoned him immediately after one man in a lawsuit and two other men went public with their allegations.
But they didn’t, instead giving Murray several weeks to fight back against his accusers and make the case that he remains a viable candidate for a second term.
Crucially, the business-labor coalition that helped Murray win election in 2013 has stood by him. No organizations have rescinded their endorsements, according to Sandeep Kaushik, spokesman for the mayor’s campaign.
“He’s running,” Kaushik said Friday. “He has a strong base of support and a track record of success to run on. He will file. No question about it.”
Both say they were mulling runs anyway.
Voters reportedly have been asked in poll phone calls how they view the allegations against Murray and what they think about certain potential candidates.
All along, conventional wisdom has said poll results could decide for Murray whether he presses ahead or withdraws, because no one wants to back a loser.
“We hear he’s canceling meetings. We hear about polls out there. We hear a lot, and we can’t figure out whether he’s staying in or getting out,” said John Wyble, a consultant on McGinn’s campaign.
“To a certain extent, campaigns are about drawing a contrast with an opponent, and that’s hard when you’re trying to figure out who you’re running against,” he said.
Some business leaders have been looking for a replacement candidate, said Wyble. But vetting a wannabe mayor, building support and persuading a possible candidate to announce is no simple task.
“The business community seems to be poking around,” Wyble said. “They’re checking under every rock. The Murray people are trying to decide whether they can stay in. There have been polls. That’s why you’re seeing all this smoke.”
City Council President Bruce Harrell, who ran for mayor in 2013, declined to comment on whether he might run again. But he did comment on McGinn’s bid.
“My experience working with Mayor McGinn was that he was extremely ineffective and my concern as a voter is whether he would be mayor again,” Harrell said.
Another person often mentioned as a potential candidate, former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, didn’t return a request for comment Friday.
Rolf and his union are sticking by Murray. Service Employees International Union Local 775 isn’t even considering withdrawing its endorsement, the labor leader said.
“I’ve known and worked with Ed Murray for 16 years, give or take, and I support his campaign,” he said.
Meanwhile, the speculation rages on.
“The number of names on the rumor mill is large,” Rolf said. “But filing deadline is coming up, so there’ll be a real-life test of who’s in and who’s out very, very soon.”
Candidate-filing week runs May 15-19.