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Murray says no to write-in, yes to R-71
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Murray says no to write-in, yes to R-71

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Senator Ed Murray announced on Tuesday, September 1, that he would not run as a write-in candidate for mayor of Seattle.

The announcement first came in the form of a four-paragraph statement e-mailed to reporters at 9:00 a.m. By Tuesday afternoon, what Murray's media consultant called "the incredible response" to his announcement induced Murray to call a face-to-face press conference at Cal Anderson Park.

"I thought I could get away with a little press release on e-mail," he grinned as he approached the gathered reporters.

"I was looking at the challenge of getting 100,000 people to write in my name," Murray explained, "and it just didn't seem realistic."

"I'd love to be mayor," Murray continued as his partner, Michael Shiosaki, nodded in agreement, "but I wouldn't want my legislation on domestic partnerships to be threatened by the race for mayor."

Murray was prime sponsor of SB 5688, the domestic partnership bill that Referendum 71 seeks to nullify, and he said in his e-mail statement that "the recognition yesterday that Referendum 71 will appear on the fall ballot galvanized my decision."

"There's only so much money," Murray explained. He had previously estimated that a serious campaign for Mayor would cost about $300,000 - money that would likely come from the same pool of donors that Washington Families Standing Together might tap for the Referendum 71 campaign.

"We didn't want [Referendum 71] on the ballot, but we need it to pass," Murray said. "I'll do whatever the campaign asks me to do."

While Murray will not run for mayor, he did not back away from his criticisms of the two candidates, Joe Mallahan and Mike McGinn.

Saying that city politics appears to have "gone off the rails," Murray called on the candidates to abandon their "selfish conversation" and focus on real issues.

"Instead of having a small discussion about snow storms, we could have the big discussion about global warming," Murray said at his afternoon presentation. "We could be talking about how the city reduces our carbon footprint, how we create 'green jobs'&."

"The fact that somebody seeking to be the civic leader of this city basically doesn't vote very often, that's a terrible message to send to the city and to young people in particular," he said, referring to candidate Joe Mallahan. Mallahan failed to vote in 10 elections since 2000.

Murray also criticized McGinn, who he says would be "destructive of city-state relations." McGinn has based his campaign on opposition to plans Murray sponsored in the Legislature to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.

"I may endorse one of them in the end," Murray said with a shrug, "but I doubt it."

Both the Mallahan and McGinn campaigns issued brief statements saying they respected Murray's decision not to run.

Statement by Senator Ed Murray:
"While I am deeply concerned for the future of our city and Michael and I are honored to have been approached by so many people and organizations we admire and respect, I am also a realist: write-in campaigns are extremely difficult, and time is short. Also, the recognition yesterday that Referendum 71 will appear on the fall ballot galvanized my decision.

"I considered a write-in campaign because I was concerned that one candidate wanted to reopen a fight with the state when we need to work together. The other candidate who seeks to become our civic leader has failed to engage in civic activities including on the most basic level, voting, something Americans in the South have died for in our lifetime.

"I considered running because I believe Seattle is greater than the selfish conversation in the mayor's race. Missing are issues and leadership on social justice. Issues of poverty and civil rights. This campaign to date has been about one bridge and one neighborhood. Issues such as our schools, neighborhoods and diversity are missing from this debate.

"I urge the candidates to broaden their messages and address the critical issues facing our city and look forward to working with one of them as our next mayor."

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