Who’s the Boss?
An Unhelpful Guide to Electing Seattle's Next Mayor
Illustrations by Kathryn Rathke
By this time next month, you'll have a ballot packed with all nine candidates running for mayor. The top two vote-getters in the summer primary election will advance to a head-to-head race in November.
Before you vote, many of you will study the official voters' guide—and then The Stranger's voters' guide that comes out on July 17. You will carefully compare their positions with your own values. Such responsible citizenry requires the most thorough reporting available on each candidate's positions—and if that's what you're looking for, stop reading.
Mayor of Seattle
"I am trying to speed up the construction of light rail, but the motherfucking city council is run by a bunch of obstructionist assholes."
Greatest strength: His frankness often alienates politicos accustomed to getting their asses kissed.
Greatest weakness: His frankness often alienates politicos accustomed to getting their asses kissed.
Medium weakness: Hot wings. Also, under his watch, the Feds sued the city for police routinely using excessive force. McGinn may talk a good game—about keeping police in check, building light rail faster, and bringing back the Sonics—but he often fails to deliver.
Spirit animal: Brown bear in bike shorts.
Base supporters: Environmentalists, youths, cops, cyclists, light-rail supporters.
Little-known fact: A car blows a tire every time you rub his belly.
Vision for Seattle's future: Light rail in every home!
Biggest enemies: The Seattle City Council, the Seattle Times.
Key endorsements: 37th District Democrats, Cascade Bicycle Club, Northwest Energy Efficiency Council, Sierra Club, IBEW Local 46, Laborers Local 1239.
Amount raised: $236,069.
Latest polling: 22 percent.
State Senator (43rd District)
"I want to be Seattle's first gay mayor, and I'll sink as low as necessary to win."
Greatest Strength: Playing dirty. There's already a pro-Murray PAC to smear his opponents, and, as he told the Seattle Weekly last week, Murray expects this to be "the ugliest campaign Seattle has ever seen" if he can make it through the primary election. He'll also play up his ability to bring people together in Olympia, with examples such as approving gay marriage and funding the most expensive freeway projects in the state. In contrast, Mayor McGinn has never unified politicians around building freeways.
Greatest weakness: Murray's got limited knowledge of city issues. He may play up being Seattle's first gay mayor, but gays don't need gay light rail.
Medium weakness: Prone to fits of pique.
Biggest supporters: Wealthy homosexuals.
Biggest enemies: His own deep-seated insecurities.
Spirit animal: RuPaul dressed as Harvey Milk.
Campaign theme song: "Gaston."
Vision for Seattle's future: A collaborative, grown-up, utopian dreamscape—once he's finished running "the ugliest campaign Seattle has ever seen."
Key endorsements: The 34th, 43rd, and 46th District Democrats.
Amount raised: $224,450.
Latest polling: 15 percent.
Corrected: In our flattering profile of Ed Murray, we mistakenly wrote that he was endorsed by the 36th District Democrats. He wasn't.
Former Seattle City Council Member
"I don't oppose density—and I'm not a NIMBY—I just want it done right, in someone else's neighborhood."
Greatest strength: He's got name recognition as the scion of the Pike Place Market's savior and the devotion of neighborhood activists who hope Steinbrueck will protect them from the scourge of density and a functional mass-transit system.
Greatest weakness: Everyone's still pissed at him for chickening out on running last time.
Spirit animal: Rachel the pig.
Base supporters: NIMBYs, mossbacks, Daddy's friends.
Vision for Seattle's future: The mid-1970s.
Biggest enemies: Developers, light-rail supporters, progress.
Key endorsements: King County Democrats; 11th and 46th District Democrats.
Amount raised: $115,999.
Latest polling: 17 percent.
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
How she can win: Russian and Cuban forces invade the United States and viciously round up the inhabitants of Seattle.
Greatest weakness: A group of teens, led by a young Patrick Swayze, escape to the hills and launch a counterattack against the befuddled Cuban commander.
Medium weakness: America's lack of class consciousness.
Spirit animal: Fidel Castro.
Base supporters: Some guy named Joe.
Little-known fact: Best known for her role as Peter Pan, Martin is also the mother of actor Larry Hagman, who she gave birth to at the age of 18.
Vision for Seattle's future: Havana.
Biggest enemies: Indifference.
Key endorsements: Some guy named Joe.
Amount raised: $0.00 (money enslaves the proletariat to its capitalist masters).
Latest polling: 3 percent.
Seattle City Council Member
"I was born in Seattle. I will probably die in Bellevue."
How he can win: Harrell is the most eloquent and passionate speaker in the field, when he's fired up. If he can squeeze through the crowded primary to the top two, he could very well talk his way into the job.
Greatest weakness: Given a council career without a major signature accomplishment, there's not a lot backing up all that talk.
Medium weakness: Mike McGinn's popularity in immigrant communities eats away at Harrell's Southeast Seattle base.
Spirit animal: UW Husky.
Base supporters: Oh god, we feel uncomfortable saying it, but black and Asian voters, we guess. We mean, it's not like Harrell doesn't talk a lot about his Japanese/African American heritage on the campaign trail.
Little-known fact: A Garfield High School and University of Washington star, he was recently inducted into the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame.
Vision for Seattle's future: Bellevue.
Key endorsements: Former Seattle mayor Wes Uhlman, King County Council member Larry Gossett, the Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council, 11th and 37th District Democrats.
Amount raised: $203,474.
Latest polling: 12 percent.
"Call me. Meet me for coffee. Tell your friends about me. Beg them to meet me for coffee."
Greatest strength: The Greenwood neighborhood activist always makes a point of remembering people's names.
Greatest weakness: While she ran for Seattle school board in 2011, Martin has never held elected office. (Some say she lost that race, but she likes to think she almost won.)
Medium weakness: Often confused with Mary Martin.
Little-known fact: Kate Martin is running for mayor!
Spirit animal: Pet rock.
Base supporters: Trick question.
Vision for Seattle's future: Panhandling is punished by death, and sidewalks abound in far-flung neighborhoods.
Biggest enemies: Every qualified mayoral candidate.
Key endorsements: Does family count?
Amount raised: $2,847.
Latest polling: 4 percent.
Librarian, Ultimate Frisbee Pioneer
"Disc in! Also, climate change!"
How she can win: Massive voter fraud.
Greatest weakness: Nobody but her close personal friends and family have any idea who she is.
Medium weakness: Not actually a baby kangaroo.
Spirit animal: Baby kangaroo.
Base supporters: The 12 people who have contributed to her campaign.
Little-known fact: Was a pioneer in the sport of Ultimate Frisbee, serving "as liaison between all flying disc sports and the International Olympic movement."
Vision for Seattle's future: Lots more Frisbees.
Biggest enemies: Reality.
Key endorsements: [This space intentionally left blank.]
Amount raised: $5,008.
Latest polling: None.
Owner of Staadecker Real Estate
"You'll like me better or my name isn't Charlie Staadecker."
Greatest strength: The fourth-generation Seattleite and Franklin High School grad is sweetly avuncular—and a wealthy real-estate broker.
Second-greatest strength: Bow-tie collection.
Greatest weakness: Being the old-school businessman's candidate in a young, liberal city.
Medium weakness: No one's ever heard of him until now.
Spirit animal: Orville Redenbacher.
Base supporters: Dale Chihuly (who maxed out to Staadecker's campaign), other wealthy business owners, his adoring wife, the bow-tie industry.
Little-known fact: His wife ties his bow ties!
Vision for Seattle's future: A chicken in every pot and a bow tie on every neck!
Biggest enemies: Regular ties.
Key endorsements: Dapper gentlemen.
Amount raised: $177,511.
Latest polling: 4 percent.
"I'm one mustache less qualified to run for office than Randy Quaid."
How he can win: If every other candidate in the race dies, along with most registered Seattle voters, McQuaid may stand a fighting chance.
Greatest weakness: Bats!
Medium weakness: Doesn't play well with others.
Little-known fact: Last year, when he ran for judge, the King County Bar Association rated him "Refused to cooperate."
Spirit animal: Tequila.
Base supporters: Sadly, bats.
Amount raised: $0.00.
Latest polling: None.