- Kelly O
- HIS RECENT VICTORY Ed Murray, 57, and his partner of more than 20 years, Michael Shiosaki, celebrate marriage equality on election night.
Ed Murray isn't running for Seattle mayor as the gay guy.
"It can work both ways," says Murray, who is filing an exploratory committee for his campaign today. "If people see me just as the gay candidate, they will vote against me. Even gay people will vote against me. I have to be the gay who did something."
Of course, Murray's résumé is stacked with examples of doing something, having served since 1995 in the state legislature, where he's chaired powerful budget committees in both the house and senate. But there is something momentous about the possibility of electing Murray as the first gay mayor of Seattle. That sort of excitement, and that distinction, could parlay into an advantage in his run against Mayor Mike McGinn and a gang of other likely qualified contenders, including Council Member Tim Burgess, who filed last week.
"If I win, it will be because people know I am a legislator who has been able to accomplish things on civil rights and who gets things done," Murray told The Stranger this week. And where Mayor McGinn is bogged down from years of ill relations with others at City Hall, and Burgess is saddled with a reputation as a moderately conservative tool of downtown business, Murray may see an opening.
His strategy doesn't rely on locking up single constituencies, as McGinn and Burgess hope to do with environmental and business blocs, Murray says, but rather it relies on peeling support away from various factions. "I hope to have business support, but I don't think I'll be the business candidate. I hope to have neighborhood support, but I won't be the person who has all the neighborhoods locked up. I believe some of labor will be supporters of mine, too. I hope to have my own community—the Roman Catholic..." he trails off, laughing. His community is "the gay community," says the Roman Catholic. "But again, they will not vote for me just because I'm gay."