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September 8, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 36
 
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Rep. Ed Murray endorses Jamie Pedersen in 43rd District House race
Rep. Ed Murray endorses Jamie Pedersen in 43rd District House race
"Jamie is smart, driven, hard-working," said State Rep. Ed Murray

by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

State Rep. Ed Murray announced on Tuesday his personal endorsement of Jamie Pedersen in the hotly contested 43rd District Democratic primary. Murray, who is seeking a seat in the State Senate, had previously said he would not endorse any candidate.

Murray's endorsement was viewed as a big boost for Pedersen, who faces five credible challengers in what political observers believe will be a tight political contest. "I am really grateful to Ed that he is willing to endorse my candidacy," Pedersen told the Seattle Gay News on Tuesday. "Obviously, he didn't need to do that. There is probably some risk for him in terms of upsetting people who were supporting other campaigns."

The very liberal and heavily Democratic 43rd District includes Seattle's Capitol Hill, Wallingford and University District neighborhoods. Whoever wins the Democratic primary will de facto be the winner of the general election.

Murray said that the political landscape has changed in Olympia as a the result of a recent Washington State Supreme Court decision to uphold a state ban on marriage for same-sex couples. He believes Pedersen's leadership on marriage equality and as a lead attorney in the landmark case would be invaluable in the Legislature.

"Given the recent marriage decision from the Supreme Court, I believe that the political ground under the Gay and Lesbian community has shifted significantly," said Rep. Ed Murray in a written statement. "It was a setback and the need to move forward united and strong on this issue is the reason I'm endorsing Jamie Pedersen.

"Jamie is smart, driven, hard-working, and while he is new to the world of politics, I think he's smart enough and he'll learn."

Murray said that he did not arrive at his decision lightly. On Tuesday, Murray called all the other the candidates personally to tell them of the endorsement. "This has been very difficult because I respect all these candidates, and two of them I have worked with in the past," he said. "Jim Street is a competent and principled elected official and Bill Sherman, who is a personal friend, would be an outstanding member of the Legislature."

Pedersen said he also learned of the endorsement on Tuesday, upon receipt of an e-mail from Murray breaking the good news. "We have talked a fair amount over the last two months, so I might have a little bit more depth in terms of the reasons than he has shared publicly," he said. "However, I do think it is a critical time for Gay and Lesbian civil rights issues in the state and nationally. I feel that I bring a different level of commitment than many of my opponents when it comes to making sure that we get full equality for all Gay and Lesbian people."

Pedersen, 37, a partner at the law firm of Preston Gates and Ellis, is also endorsed by Equal Rights Washington, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, and the Stonewall Democrats. He shares a co-endorsement from the Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee (SEAMEC) with fellow 43rd District hopeful Lynne Dodson, 45, a college professor.

All six candidates support marriage equality for same-sex couples, including Dick Kelley, who said during an interview with the Seattle Times, "I'm even more disappointed by the reason Ed gave me when he called to tell me about it. I don't believe that the voters in the 43rd District are going to vote for or against anybody because of the candidate's sexual orientation."

In a final push for votes, Pedersen encouraged the readers of the SGN to vote in the September 19th primary and said he would be "grateful for their support."

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