Out of the mayor's race.

As the deadline closed last Friday afternoon, a frenzy of new candidates filed to run for office, others switched races, and one even quit the crowded mayor's race, thereby establishing the final cast for this year's local political theater. And if you think local elections are dull, well, you're usually right—but shit howdy, not this year. It's going to be a messy goddamn brawl that rolls through the spring and summer and then vomits thousands of glossy mailers onto your doorstep in the fall.

Mayor: Despite having raised the most dough ($232,000), Tim Burgess withdrew his bid for mayor on Friday, thereby leaving a wide-open gap for candidates vying for conservative votes and funding. Why did he quit? From the Seattle City Council member's botched announcement last November to this abrupt end, Burgess never caught the tailwind many expected. Mayor Mike McGinn, who had been floundering his first couple of years in office, found his sea legs in city hall, and a pack of heavyweight contenders crowded into the race in winter. In particular, state senator Ed Murray and to a lesser extent Council Member Bruce Harrell have emerged in the race as safe bets for institutional backers that represent downtown business, and, unlike Burgess, they can't be portrayed as conservative outliers (Burgess infamously sponsored a controversial aggressive-panhandling bill that failed in 2010).

The same day, two new candidates jumped in (Joey Gray and Doug McQuaid), but nobody had ever heard of those people.

So who will win? According to a SurveyUSA poll released May 20, McGinn leads the pack with 22 percent support from Seattle voters, followed by former city council member Peter Steinbrueck (17 percent), Murray (15 percent), and then Harrell (12 percent). A substantial 23 percent are undecided.

But leading with less than a quarter of the vote and only a 37 percent job-approval rating—where McGinn is today—is a shitty position for any incumbent. McGinn might survive the primary election, but conventional wisdom says the anti-McGinn voters will likely coalesce around the challenger in November. Who's likely to be that challenger? My bet is on Murray.

City Council: The most seriously contested council race involves liberal Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien and moderate Albert Shen, an engineering consultant. They must unexpectedly slog through the primary election after a long-shot third candidate named David Ishii joined the race on Friday.

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In terms of political theater, O'Brien will sell his vision of a city that invests in mass transit and bicycle lanes, while Shen will likely continue peddling his philosophy of condemning bike lanes and streetcars as impediments to cars. Despite being a political newcomer, Shen has raised $73,000, while O'Brien has raised only $41,000.

City Attorney: The biggest winner in Seattle is already Pete Holmes, who doesn't have a challenger and gets a free pass on a second term. recommended