Big campaign, tiny senator
  • Kelly O
  • Big campaign, tiny senator

Sen. Patty Murray was in the Pike/Pine neighborhood this morning, an appearance in the most liberal area of Washington state’s most liberal city—a place she needs some enthusiastic support to overcome her Republican opponent Dino Rossi this November. Also, she was within a two-block radius of our offices so Kelly O and I decided to put down our breakfast margaritas and stumble over.

On its face, this was a familiar performance we’ve seen in a few Seattle neighborhoods: Murray walked around talking to small business owners. Their stories were calculated, of course, to tell of the perils of being shut out from business loans that they need to survive—a problem that will be solved before November by legislation Murray supports!

“The banks that seemed to have funds weren’t interested,” Elliott Bay Book Company owner Peter Aaron told the senator, “and the banks that were interested didn’t have the funds.” This sort of real-talk, business-backing listening time parlays nicely into legislation to create the Small Business Lending Fund, which would set aside $30 billion to help community banks that help these small businesses, while providing Murray time on camera with adored urban leaders.

However the subtext here is arguably a bit deeper than chatting with Linda Derschang at Oddfellows Café or discussing the paramount importance of the (heavenly and unmatched) cherry chunk ice cream with Molly Moon. Dispassion among the left is high while Republican blood is boiling.

How’s Murray going to motivate the liberals?

I asked Murray about her plans to motivate her base, how she reconciles her claim to support gay rights even though she voted to ban gay marriage, and whether she’s the tallest member of the U.S. Senate:

For the record, Murray supported Referendum 71, but she also supported the Defense of Marriage Act at the time, because, she says, "it was a state's rights issue." Since then, "People know who I am and who I care about." (Screaming subtext: You know who Rossi is and who he doesn't care about.) Then her handlers briskly pulled her away.