It appears that Ed Murray will be Seattle’s first openly… Capitol Hill mayor. With the Hill serving as the city’s election night headquarters (above, images from the Sawant, McGinn and Murray campaign parties all within a five minute walk of each other), the first ballot count in the 2013 races for mayor and City Council seats were released just after 8:15 PM showing challenger Murray with a sizable early lead over incumbent Mike McGinn. Tuesday’s count included more than 90,000 ballots. There are more than 410,000 registered voters in the city.
Murray took the stage just before 9 PM as his campaign celebrated election night at 10th and Pike’s Neumos, saying that only a few short years ago it would have been unimaginable for him to stand next to his husband as mayor.
Murray’s supporters erupted in deafening screams and applause when the initial results were first displayed, all but ensuring Murray’s victory. The high energy atmosphere carried on for the better part of an hour. Murray was clearly enjoying his victory, but stuck to the script in his speech, careful not to get caught up in the moment. He talked about civic duty and the positive role government can play in people’s lives.
Earlier in the night, McGinn’s not-yet-a-concession speech took a nostalgic turn. “I’m proud of what we did,” he said to his supporters at 95 Slide. “You guys all know — I’m from the Sierra Club. And one of the rules is you have to leave a place better than when you’ve found it. And we’ve done that.”
UPDATE Thursday, November 7 10:45 AM: In a morning press conference, Mayor Mike McGinn announced his concession to Murray in the race for City Hall — and began the work of cementing is legacy of setting a new course for Seattle leadership based on transit and progressive values. “If you look at Mr. Murray’s agenda, that’s the agenda I ran on four years ago,” McGinn said.
Despite the significant gap in the early tally, McGinn’s campaign said the candidate is not yet conceding despite the nostalgia-twinged speech at his election night party at E Pike’s 95 Slide.
Murray is a longtime Capitol Hill resident and has served the 43rd District in Olympia for nearly two decades. He married his partner Michael Shiosaki this summer after helping to lead the initiative to legalize gay marriage in the state. If elected, Murray will be Seattle’s first openly gay mayor.
CHS talked to Murray about his campaign on his home turf earlier this summer. “The issue is not whether you’re an outsider or an insider, the issue is are you delivering on the things that Capitol Hill residents value,” Murray said. “And I would say as a legislator, I have. And as a mayor, I could.”
Meanwhile, we asked whether incumbent McGinn could charm the Hill again? The answer for one of McGinn’s most visible blocks of support in 2009 was no — this group of mostly Capitol Hill nightlife business owners turned on the incumbent after supporting his first campaign and threw their collective weight behind Murray.
Candidate for City Council and challenger against incumbent Richard Conlin, Socialist Alternative Kshama Sawant trailed by seven points in the early returns. We reported on one of the final duels between the candidates and Sawant’s push for a $15 minimum wage and rent control in the city here. Ramy Khalil, Sawant campaign manager, told CHS Tuesday night, “Whatever happens tonight, we’ve already won.”
On the city proposition front, City of Seattle Proposed Charter Amendment No. 19, the plan to transition Seattle’s city council to a geographic district model appeared to be headed toward victory while Prop. 1 which would publicly finance council elections looked headed for defeat.
School board voting for the Hill’s districts included a hopeful showing in District 4 for parent activist Sue Peters.
You can view all tallies at the King County Elections results page.
In two key statewide votes, the *extremely* early totals show I-522, an initiative to require the labeling of GMO food products, getting creamed. Meanwhile, I-517’s push to protect the initiative signature gathering process in Washington is also being rejected.
At Neumos, the crowd included an a-list of Washington politicians including former Governor Chris Gregoire who introduced Murray as the nation’s “greatest mayor.” Meanwhile, via Twitter, King County Executive Dow Constantine, who watched the votes come in at nearby Lost Lake, congratulated Murray and said the likely winner “has the experience to hit the ground running and set a new, collaborative tone for the city.
Rep. Jim McDermott, who also made an appearance at Neumos, said he had no dog in the hunt but that Seattle would benefit from either candidate.
“When you put them side-by-side, what they believe, there’s not that much difference,” he said.
Murray’s party at Neumos as the first results were announced:
Murray on the “moral test” of his administration:
UPDATE Wednesday, November 6th 3:10 PM: King County Elections says more updates coming today: “The Elections Department will issue a first set of results at 4:30 p.m. as planned, along with a second set of results at 8:30 p.m.” You can access the latest tallies at kingcounty.gov’s election results site.
4:30 PM: In the latest Seattle update, McGinn crawls back… a teensy bit. But the math works out — AP is calling the race for Murray.