Seattle Mayoral Race

Rosalind Brazel / August 14, 2013

by Alex Fryer

And they’re off. The end of the preliminary heat in the mayor’s race has two clear winners: Mayor Mike McGinn and Sen. Ed Murray. There was no “close third” in this contest. So now that the political landscape is clear, let’s take a look at single issues for both candidates that may bear further scrutiny in the 13 weeks ahead:

McGinn has made Seattle’s solid economy a major plank in his campaign. His final TV ad in the primary noted that “Seattle’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the nation.” Why then, is Seattle’s business community so intent on making him a one-term mayor? There seems a disconnect between McGinn’s poor relationship with employers and the touting of his economic record. And while creating more living wage jobs seems certainly fodder for healthy debate, should we expect an announcement that he’s requiring Sonics’ investor Chris Hansen to pay the people who pour sodas and sell popcorn in his proposed new sports arena more than $15 an hour?

Murray has a long record of accomplishment in the state legislature. Unfortunately, the legislature has a long record of neglecting education. One could even say the legislature’s constant punting broke the law (see McCleary decision). Murray would be best served to focus on the city’s pre-K education. There are some great local examples of innovation. Bremerton synchronizes its curriculum from pre-K to 3rd grade. Pre-schools are given materials and guidance in exchange for testing their students. Parents know which programs are participating so they can make the best decisions for their kids.

Both camps are taking a breather and focusing on raising money. But how these issues play out over the next few months could shape whether the city celebrates a re-election, or its 55th mayor.