This morning, the political chatter focused on how Mayor Mike McGinn may not even make the top two in tonight's ballot drop. They thought that he might barely squeak into the general election—which is a terrible place for a sitting mayor.
Instead, King County Elections results show he came in a healthy second, just a few points behind the cash-flush, establishment-backed Ed Murray. McGinn had 27 percent to Murray's 30 percent, and ballots that trickle in later this week are expected to break in McGinn's favor (contenders Bruce Harrell and Peter Steinbrueck are out of the race, saving a drunken act of God). McGinn still is still thoroughly in the woods, but he's shown his robust get-out-the vote machine works even in a sleepy, conservative primary. In the general, McGinn will give Murray the same run for his money that he gave T-Mobile executive Joe Mallahan back in 2009. In that race, like this one, scrappy McGinn was facing off against Seattle's bloated big-money machine.
In the big council race, socialist Kshama Sawant (pictured above) won a stunning 33 percent while incumbent Richard Conlin—with all the backing, the cash, and name recognition—won only 49 percent of the vote. With Brian Carver out of the race, and the electorate clearly unenthused about the prospect of Conlin taking a fifth term, Conlin will have to fight for his seat for the first time since he was elected in the early 1700s.
Finally, incumbent liberal council member Mike O'Brien is far ahead of the Pez Dispenser of broken conservative talking points named Albert Shen (57 percent to 35 percent). Other races turned out like you'd expect: Stephanie Bowman has a lock on her port commission seat; Suzanne Dale Etsey and Sue Peters will face off in the general election for school board; and Goodspaceguy's bid to run the entire county took a sobering—but nonetheless amusing—4 percent of the vote.
Scroll down for all the night's drunken chatter.
Good news! Ed Murray's campaign staff finally acknowledged our presence! The SECB asked consultant Sandeep Kaushik if Murray's win means the ugliest race in Seattle history begins tonight. (Murray said recently that if he and Mayor Mike McGinn both make it through the primary, “I think this is going to be the ugliest campaign Seattle has ever seen.”)
Kaushik, who's already been part of the Murray campaign's ugly tactics of smearing the mayor while dodging issues, shrugged. "I don't know. Ask the mayor... Ask The Stranger." Uh huh. We also ran into Washington State Democratic Party head Dwight Pelz, a bg Murray supporter. What does he think of the results? "Seventy-three percent of the people voted against the mayor," Pelz said. He thinks that's a significant point for Murray, a Democrat who's served in Pelz's party in Olympia for 18 years. So does he think this is going to be the ugliest election in Seattle history? "Top three," he said. Mayor McGinn, Pelz went on, will be like a "Mama Grizzly [protecting] her cubs." Dwight Pelz, are you comparing Mayor McGinn to Sarah Palin? "Maybe," Pelz says. Then he laughed. "Yes," said Pelz, seeming intent on fulfilling the Murray campaign's effort to make this an ugly campaign. Bravo!
McGINN WINS! (Sort of.)
From the reaction of the crowd here at the McGinn primary election night party, you'd think the mayor had just won a landslide victory instead of, you know, coming in second. But the numbers were better than most McGinnites had reason to expect—Murray 30 percent, McGinn 27 percent, with Steinbrueck a distant third at 16 percent—and so the crowd was jubilant. It wasn't even close. (At least the race for second place.)
Even the consultants were pleasantly surprised, and their expectation is that McGinn will gain ground on Murray as the late ballots get counted... perhaps even surpass him. Word is that the McGinn campaign made 145,000 phone calls—25,000 phone calls today alone—exactly the kind of grass roots get out the vote campaign that won him the mayorship in the first place.
Remember, this is a mayor long dismissed as a one-and-done. So it'll be interesting to see if tonight's much better than expected showing changes the narrative. But for now, the very happy crowd of McGinn supporters is thrilled to celebrate one (second place) victory at a time.
HARRELL MAY RUN FOR MAYOR AGAIN, SAYS HARRELL
- AFTER THE FALL Bruce and Joanne Harrell, still standing proud. Joanne's a powerhouse. Harrell's a longtime fighter for wage equity for women. It's something we quite like about him.
"I certainly have a promising political career in front of me, so I rule out no possibilities," he said.
"What we have to do now is we have to regroup," Harrell had told his crowd moments after the line graph shot out the bad news of the results. "I'm still in office, don't get it twisted. ... I actually did okay"—Harrell had 15.48 percent of the vote—"but it's not what we wanted. I'm as sad and disappointed as you, but as you know, sad and disappointed isn't in my vocabulary."
Sad and disappointed was in the orange-shirted crowd's vocabulary at that moment.
"I didn't die!" Harrell said. "You can smile, sister."
Everybody laughed and he sent them to the buffet. "Let's keep eating, let's keep the faith alive, let's keep hope alive," he said.
"Fight's not over. Never say never," responded Michael Harrell, Bruce's marvelous cousin (who earlier told the SECB, "Say Michael Harrell says, 'victory is in the eye of the beholder, and I'm beholdin!'").
This was Harrell's first time losing a political race. Ever. Eyebrows raised, his cousin Michael said, "It's kind of hard—we all here are used to winning, and this stuff here, we haven't experienced this before!"
- The Stranger
- Nice of you to join us.
In his speech at the Crocodile, mayoral candidate Ed Murray said "the people of Seattle want new leadership," because "we need to bring liberals and moderates together." He promised an "integrated transit system," cited a desire to help the poor and children of immigrants, he promised to put an end to the recent rash of gay bashings, and he thanked his diverse coalition, which explains why we overheard a supporter grumbling about being "too whitebread" to stand behind Murray onstage. Murray thanked Ron Sims and a list of other politicians who supported him in the primary. The biggest round of applause from the packed, sweaty room came when Murray name checked Council Member Tim Burgess, who has backed city hall's crusades against poor people. "We will have a city leadership as diverse as the city itself," Murray promised. "I am not running to be a gay mayor of Seattle. I am not running to be a progressive mayor of Seattle. I am running to be an effective mayor of Seattle." Christ, not "effective" like Tim Burgess, we hope.
ALBERT SHEN IS A BROKEN-RECORD ROBOT
With MSNBC still blaring in the background, the crowd at Amber seemed antsy to get Shen's results. Yet 8:15 passed, then 8:30... finally, at 8:35p.m., the SECB went over to Shen's campaign manager and asked if there was an update. He told us Shen had gotten past the primary with 35 percent of the vote, to O'Brien's 57 percent. The SECB then asked his campaign manager when he planned on telling the blissfully ignorant party. Five minutes later Shen addressed the crowd, announced his success, and stated that he looked forward to a good campaign and debate leading up to November. The SECB then talked to Shen, asking what he could give the city that O'Brien couldn't. He said that he was "and independent voice for Seattle" and that he and O'Brien had "different visions" for the city. We asked him to elaborate on how their visions were different, and he repeated that they "have different visions," and he looked forward to a good campaign. We then went to the bathroom, where a lovely person informed us that we were in fact in the wrong toilet, and to get out. We graciously obliged.
After receiving only 16 percent of the initial ballot drop, placing him in distant third, Peter Steinbrueck was introduced by staffer Stephanie Pure, who hopped up on stage and introduced him as "our next mayor!" because this is still "anybody's game!"
Then Steinbrueck kept up the awful charade: "Don't think for a second that this is over, because it isn't!" he said to a medium-glum room. He then dropped a zillion neighborhood activist buzzwords ("livability!" "Quality of life!" "Smart growth"), and finished with: "I don't know if we're taking questions from press?" He looked over at campaign staff. "No? Okay!" The speakers started blaring "Jungle Boogie." No one here dances (except the lions). Everyone went to get another drink.
The crowds tonight seem mainly to be current city council members (well, Nick Licata and Jean Godden), neighborhood activists, and Steinbruecks of all ages. Seriously, the SECB asked a Steinbrueck how many Steinbruecks were here tonight, and he estimated more than a dozen. How many Steinbrueck does it take to elect a Steinbrueck as mayor? Sadly, it seems the world may never know.
Everyone cheered—YAY!—when a friend read the numbers from Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien's porch—57 percent to Albert Shen's 35 percent—making him the handy victor of his fight to retain his city council position. "I'm going to switch from O'Douls now," O'Brien said after a neighbor read the results from his phone. Meanwhile, there are four chickens here and the neighbors are very amused when they CROSS THE STREET.
The numbers are in. The numbers—33 percent with the incumbent Richard Conlin under 50 percent—are great for Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant. It is pretty clear that Conlin is going to have a run for his money this year. Seattle will finally have a serious socialist politician in its system. This is a major breakthrough and makes clear that the city is really the last place that anything like serious politics can takes place. Everyone here is feeling it. Says Sawant on the third candidate she's edged out of the top-two primary: "We have crushed Brian Carver!" Next she'll need to crush Conlin.
Not that anyone was expecting more, but mayoral candidate Joey Gray doesn't seem at all fazed with her 0.98 percent of the vote. That's 914 votes. She must have a lot of friends!
A supporter informs Gray that she finished fifth out of nine mayoral candidates. Nine people whooped. "I just want to do the right thing at the right time," Gray said. Well, at least she has the backing of the hacker collective Anonymous... That's something on which to build.
The scene of the Bruce Harrell party at Mount Baker Community Club is like a wedding you'd actually want to attend: people who love each other like family but don't have a standard look or demographic, very good beats, balmy weather, light wind and late sun streaming through the great big windows of a gorgeous old building. In the middle of it all are council member Harrell and his wife Joanne, a powerhouse Microsoft executive who's president of the UW Board of Regents.
Harrell knows how to throw a party but he doesn't have the legs to run a mayor's race—he's in fourth place, with just over 15 percent of the vote.
Before he puts the mic down (but after thanking everybody for coming), he says grace. Bless that food. The woman running the kitchen is Bernita, and the woman helping her is Doris Jones, who has lived on Beacon Hill since 1973. She loves Harrell, says he shows up at all the Mount Zion Baptist Church meetings to have a segment of road named after the church's pastor. Harrell "is always there. He just seems to be in the middle of helping others." But she has a message for whoever's the next mayor, too: "The only thing that I have a lot of problems with is the police department. I would like to see them try to get that together. I just want them to be able to respect people as people. They want to be respected as people. Let's do that for everybody."
"Our supporters confuse the media," says Monisha Harrell, his campaign manager and niece. "They're looking for one group. Our team—I mean, look at us—we don't represent one group. It's a coalition. I think this is more representative of the city and of who we want to be. I'll take it."
She continued. "I think he forced other candidates in the race to be more multicultural, to reach out to the communities they wouldn't have."
Harrell won't be on the ballot in November but he says, "I'm not going anywhere, and you're not going anywhere." Harrell's still up there on the city council, fighting for social justice.
When the numbers dropped, there was a general sensation of ecstasy at the Ed Murray for mayor party at the Crocodile. Young gays hugging, older men hugging younger women, giddiness in the packed under-21 area. But it's been 20 minutes and still no Ed. That concert vibe we mentioned before? It's turning into a different kind of show vibe: the chatter is getting louder, necks are craning, people are impatient. What's Ed waiting for?
UPDATE: "I think he's backstage, taking phone calls and stuff," a volunteer says. Send Mr. Blethen our best, Ed!
Ever one to polish a turd until he falls asleep with said turd in his lap, Richard Conlin says, "I'm happy to be in the lead." Of course, he got less than 50 percent of the vote—which is a miserable showing for a 16-year incumbent in a conservative primary against an out-'n-proud socialist and a longshot candidate. And Kshama, his socialist challenger? "She's obviously done a great job of getting out the votes so we'll have some exciting times on the campaign." Christ, we know that is literally the most boring quote ever. To top it off, Conlin is celebrating his "victory" by eating black bean soup. Get this guy some seasoning.
- The Stranger
- Look at all this pickled stuff!
SECB skirts the kimchee for the keg. Then we used Mike O'Brien's bathroom. It was clean and roomy.
O'Brien holds a comfy 57 percent, despite the Seattle Times' dishonest editorials to try to unseat him:
City of Seattle Council Position No. 8
(Precincts ( 952/ 952 ) 100.00
David Ishii 5720 6.80%
Mike O'Brien 48253 57.37%
Albert Shen 29689 35.30%
Write-in 450 0.54%
Seattle City Council contender Kshama Sawant, a rowdy socialist (and smart economist), has taken a whopping 33 percent of the vote in the primary drop, a trend that is likely to continue turning her way in later returns. That means in the general election she will be facing off against Richard Conlin, a four-term incumbent and anti-poor, anti-homeless green-washing fraud. Conlin got a miserable 49 percent. Here are today's results:
City of Seattle Council Position No. 2
(Precincts ( 952/ 952 ) 100.00
Kshama Sawant 27813 32.97%
Brian Carver 14632 17.34%
Richard Conlin 41477 49.16%
King County Elections has dropped its first batch of results, showing state senator Ed Murray and Mayor Mike McGinn far in the lead. Challengers Peter Steinbrueck and Bruce Harrell trail more than 10 points behind. Unless there's a bizarre twist in late returns—which conventional wisdom says will trend in McGinn's favor—this shows Murray and McGinn are heading off in the general election:
City of Seattle Mayor; Descriptors added to distinguish candidates with the same
(Precincts ( 952/ 952 ) 100.00
Doug McQuaid 1887 2.02%
Ed Murray 28248 30.24%
Kate Martin, planner 1730 1.85%
Bruce A. Harrell 14458 15.48%
Mike McGinn 25364 27.15%
Peter Steinbrueck 15189 16.26%
Mary Martin, factory worker 1124 1.20%
Joey Gray 914 0.98%
Charlie Staadecker 4287 4.59%
Write-in 205 0.22%
You know that feeling when you're in a crowd right before a great concert? That's what the Crocodile feels like now for Ed Murray's mayoral campaign. We ask a campaign volunteer how they feel. They say that by the end of the night, they'll feel like they ran "three quarters of a race." People are grateful to Peter Steinbreuck for peeling votes away from McGinn. Most of them seem happy to talk to The Stranger, which is not the reception we expected. Thankfully, Murray spokesperson Sandeep Kaushik totally snubbed us, walking right past with quiet determination. In his defense, he was probably on his way to talk to the press about how petty Mike McGinn is. Love ya, Sandeep!
- The Stranger
- Joey Gray
Gray walks in with a bike helmet in her hand. She looks really healthy, like the archetypal Seattle progressive environmental activist who doesn't own a car, and despite the poor turnout, Gray is upbeat. She's all for shortening campaigns and de-circusifying them. Gray says her goal is to make politics fun—at least, to make it less daunting—which is what she did as a consultant for a school's math curriculum.
"I'm a giver, not a taker," she says. When told she seems very nice and understanding, Gray asserts, "I can kick ass, too." We bet she could slay Mayor McGinn in a 10-mile bike race and perhaps, given more political experience, she could kick ass at City Hall, too.
Peter Steinbrueck is greeting supporters in a sort of receiving line outside of his China Harbor party. SECB mentioned that Maple Leaf's going for him, so his chances are good, right? Yes, he agreed, before lamenting: "But not The Stranger." Sigh. Way to make it awkward, dude.
Inside, the restaurant is bustling. A jazz duo is playing away, the air smells delicious, and the view looks like this:
The chandeliers are bigger than most studios on Capitol Hill, and when the SECB tried to access wifi, one of the accounts was a yacht. Word is the margaritas are huge but made with Sprite. We were also told there will be lion dancing. (Really.)
- Dow: A Nice, nice man.
Dow Constantine is a nice man. A nice, nice man who feels good. He feels good about his chances in the primary. Does he have any predictions for the mayoral race? He affirms that Ed Murray's chances look pretty good in recent polls, but then he goes on to name check every other candidate just to be safe, and he insists that whoever wins, they will work together to make a better Seattle/King County/future/etc. Constantine does say that he surprised that Charlie Staadecker didn't get more of a foothold. Staadecker is a "great guy," and also "funny" and "smart." He didn't say so, but the SECB also assumes Charlie is nice.
If the McGinn family is nervous about the tonight's primary results you wouldn't know it from their appetites—at least they didn't let any butterflies get in the way of enjoying what could be their last family dinner as a non-lame-duck mayor: fish tacos, fish and chips, some green salads, and tater tots. Not a meal for the queazy.
As for the rest of the crowd at 95 Slide on Capitol Hill, the general mood appears to be cautious optimism. There's a tacit acknowledgement of what happened four years ago to the previous incumbent—when former mayor Nickels came in third place and never made it to the general election—so nobody is ruling that out. But we think that most of the folks here would be almost as surprised as they would be disappointed if McGinn doesn't end up making it through to November.
And as for the SECB, Mrs. Mayor did offer us a tater tot, but we've yet to be bought the many drinks we deserve for sacrificing our journalistic integrity on behalf of the mayor. But the night is still young, and if anybody will be crying in their beer, we hope the beer will be ours!
- The Stranger
- A selection from Shen's delicious spread.
The invisible throngs of Seattle City Council member Conlin supporters at the Madrona Ale House are holding invisible signs and standing around an invisible buffet:
- The Stranger Cricket, cricket.
We asked one waiter when their last paid sick day was—Conlin was the only city council member to vote against a progressive ordinance granting nearly all Seattle employees with paid sick leave—the waiter opened their eyes real big and said: "It's been a looooong time." The waiter said that their employer informed them that they didn't qualify for paid sick leave because businesses need 12 or more employees to qualify. A quick Google search confirms that that explanation is bullshit. When we told the waiter this, they replied: "Oh yeah? Cool. Thank you. I love that. That's great news."
Actually, don't call Peter Steinbrueck:
If you're trying to reach Steinbrueck, he left his cell phone home. Oops. #seamayor
— Maureen O'Hagan (@MaureenOHagan) August 7, 2013
They'll be posted over here (watch out for falling pythons). And some folks are talking about the mayor's race on Twitter. Why aren't more people on Twitter talking about Charlie Staadecker? Maybe they'll all be asleep by 8:15 pm.
Although we weren't invited to his election-night party, we're getting word that mayoral candidate Charlie Staadecker is hosting an intimate election-night gathering inside the steam room of the Washington Athletic Club. If you've got a membership, you should stop on by! He'll be the man wearing two bow ties.
Meanwhile, David Ishii, who's vying for Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien's seat, is reportedly hosting his party inside of David Ishii.
Before every election, the SECB hires Raven, our own tarot-reading, bird-named psychic counselor. This year, for $20—what a deal!—Raven read us primary night future. “You need to get what you want with less drama,” Raven said, which doesn't sound good for Ed “whyeeeeeeeeeee are you always picking on meeeeeeeee” Murray.
However! She also predicted magic will happen with a “fair- or ginger-haired entrepreneur,” which might mean fate is making googly eyes at Mike McGinn? Or Brian Carver?
Raven says the cards say the future is a bit murky because “You're having too much fun and it's getting toxic.” It's true! Politics is! Much! Too! Toxic! We're all high on toxic fumes over here—or maybe it's the bath salts—like we've been huffing Reagan Dunn's coiffure all day! Or the toxic fumes of coal trains Ed Murray swears he didn't take money from! Or the toxic stench roiling off the backs of Seattle's elected school board! Or, you know, the bath salts.
Raven also suggested that Seattle “do a lot of soul searching.” Hang out alone, Seattle. Listen to some Creed and figure all this crazy shit out. “You worry way, way, way, way too much,” Raven said. “What you need is to find someone to grow old with, build a future with.”
- Official ballot: Delay! Delay!
Slog tipper Garrett mailed his ballot without a stamp only to find the USPS charges a poll tax. "I didn't have stamps, and instead of putting off mailing my ballot until I... remembered to get some, I decided to just send it (I was also curious to see whether or not the post office actually delivers un-stamped ballots, which they say they do)," writes Garrett. "I sent it in Friday's mail (along with a bit of guilt and shame for not using a stamp), and this is what I found just now... They didn't deliver it. Good thing I checked my mail today! It means a drive to the drop box."
Well, the Stranger Election Control board doesn't actually hope he dies, but you know. Realistic expectations and all that. Stay tuned to Slog for parties, results, reactions, gossip, buffet tables... and the political predictions of Capitol Hill's best psychic bird!