Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is endorsing Jon Grant against Council President Tim Burgess in a race Burgess expects to be close.
Mike McGinn is issuing a second endorsement in a Seattle City Council race after watching the candidate he championed in the primary election be knocked out.
The former Seattle mayor, who initially supported indie-rock-band leader John Roderick in his campaign for Position 8, a citywide seat, said Thursday he now backs Jon Grant, a former executive director of the Tenants Union of Washington State.
The announcement means McGinn is again throwing his weight against Council President Tim Burgess, with whom he clashed during his time as mayor from 2010 to 2013.
“There’s no question Seattle is getting too expensive for too many people,” he said in a statement. “We can look the other way or we can elect bold progressive candidates like Jon Grant, who has been a leader on this issue for the past several years.”
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When McGinn endorsed Roderick in May, he praised the musician for prioritizing municipal broadband and mass transit and for criticizing Mayor Ed Murray on crime.
Roderick finished third in the Aug. 4 primary with about 16 percent of the votes. Burgess advanced to the Nov. 3 general election with 46 percent and Grant moved ahead with 31 percent, while John Persak brought up the rear with about 7 percent.
McGinn didn’t make Roderick a winner, but the former mayor remains popular with a substantial number of voters. Persak has endorsed Grant. Roderick hasn’t endorsed.
The Position 8 race has emerged as one of the council’s most competitive contests.
Grant has campaigned on the premise that Burgess is too conservative for Seattle, while the incumbent has raised more money — $350,000 to Grant’s $59,000.
Burgess is backed by more large business and labor unions and this week touted an endorsement letter from leaders in Seattle business and the arts and music scenes.
But Grant is making him sweat. In an email to supporters Tuesday seeking money for television time, the incumbent wrote, “Believe me, this election is going to be close.”
He added: “My opponent rails against our local businesses and me, mimicking the class warfare rhetoric and approach of (Councilmember) Kshama Sawant.”
Burgess and Grant took part Thursday in an online chat organized by The Seattle Times, answering questions posed by users of the Reddit website.
Two pro-Burgess/anti-Grant independent-expenditure campaigns registered Tuesday with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. Independent spending on council races has increased dramatically this year.
Jason Bennett, campaign manager for Seattle Needs Ethical Leaders, said the committee will raise about $200,000, mostly for print ads. Kelly Evans, campaign manager for United for Tim, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
McGinn on Tuesday said he first worked with Grant, then at the Tenants Union, in 2011 to stop the mass eviction of low-income renters from the Downtowner Apartments building in the Chinatown International District.