Live from Seattle: It's Primary Night!

Our reporters tracked the changing tides as first day results in the Seattle mayor's race rolled in.
Crosscut archive image.

Ed Murray's campaign is waiting on tonight's results at the Croc.

Our reporters tracked the changing tides as first day results in the Seattle mayor's race rolled in.

10:09 p.m., McGinn talking it up

The crowd has thinned but hardly vacated the Mike McGinn campaign party, and the hard core just seems to be more enthused. McGinn has been wandering the room, relaxed and grinning, hugging supporters and telling them, "I feel great. You're awesome!" The feeling seems mutual.  A circle of Filipino campaign volunteers gathers around him cheering, almost screaming with joy. "You don't want to mess with them!" the mayor jokes.

One on one, McGinn is still beaming about his placing second in the Seattle mayoral race's first returns, apparently earning a place on the general election ballot with challenger Ed Murray. McGinn's clearly more confident and relaxed in public than four years ago: "I think he's really a shy person," says one supporter. Was all that abrasiveness laid against him then compensation?

How does it feel to come in second? I ask. "That matters in the general election," he replies. "We got to 25 percent, and that's where we need to be."

"It will be interesting to see the late numbers," he volunteers. "I think we had a surge at the end." He explains that his campaign hadn't polled for two weeks, but the admittedly selective gauge of phone-bank responses suggested that "we were doing really well with less frequent voters." That may bode well for general elections, since primaries tend to skew toward older, more conservative frequent voters. 

McGinn's clearly, joyfully aware of having killed the "re-election curse" that doomed Paul Schell and Greg Nickels in their final primaries. "I feel really good about where we are." Crosscut McGinnwatch Squad (CMS) is just bummed out that he only blabbed (really) but didn't post about how the ex-Unmayor would pass his first primary test as an incumbent.

-- Eric Scigliano

9:35 p.m., Murray looking ahead

Ed Murray, leading in the mayoral vote count, speaks for about 15 minutes, showing a more fiery side than usual.

As Murray speaks, he is accompanied by a number of prominent politicians. “One thing that is clear from tonight’s results is that Seattle wants new leadership,” he says.

We need to bring together liberals and moderates as Seattle faces challenges, he adds.

Alluding to charges that Mayor McGinn is difficult to work with, he says, “We will repair our frayed relationships and our regional partners.” He also pledges to “reconnect our neighborhoods to City Hall.”

“I’m not running the gay mayor of Seattle," he continues. "I’m not running to be the progressive mayor of Seattle. I’m running to be an effective mayor of Seattle.”

As soon as he finishes, the crowd chants, “Ed, Ed, Ed …” The post-speech music reflected optimism about Murray’s apparent place in the two-person general election final: Fleetwood Mac singing, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”

-- John Stang

9:10 p.m., Steinbrueck crowd subdued

Peter Steinbrueck was subdued as he talked to supporters about the election results, which put him in third place in the fight for two finalist positions in the Seattle mayor’s race. “I’m in line, giving a strong showing," he says. "This is far from over.”

He spent considerable time thanking supporters, family members, volunteers and campaign staff. He emphasized that his campaign contributions came heavily from the local community, echoing criticisms that a political consultant had made earlier of heavy spending by the two early leaders, state Sen. Ed Murray and Mayor Mike McGinn. He said his own message was about neighborhoods and building them up. He called Seattle “the last great place in the country.”

 Steinbrueck kept his remarks brief and invited people to “stick around and enjoy the food and the beautiful view.”

-- Ashley Walls

8:45 p.m., Murray supporters jazzed

A crowd of supporters is still waiting for an actual appearance by the leader in the mayor's race, state Sen. Ed Murray, but they are excited by his strong showing in the voting. Tom Morris of Madrona said, "I didn't have a specific number in mind. I just wanted him to win or place."

Referring to Murray's getting 30 percent of the vote in the nine-person field, John Birnell said, "This is a fantastic showing with so many candidates."

-- John Stang

8:30 p.m, Murray and McGinn surge ahead

State Sen. Ed Murray took a strong early lead, followed by incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn. There are lots of votes to count in coming days, but they appeared to be well positioned to be the two mayoral finalists for Seattle in November. 

Murray received 30.2 percent of the initial vote, seemingly assuring him of a final spot. And McGinn was close behind, at 27.1. Peter Steinbrueck and Bruce Harrell trailed in the mid-teens.

8:21 p.m., McGinn crowd excited

Just before hearing any results,  Slide 95: The chant’s up: “Four more years! Four more years!” Wait, wasn’t that what they said about Nixon?

McGinn takes the stage in white shirt and gray suit: “Four years ago, they said, ‘How does this environmentalist neighborhood activist win a mayor’s  race?’ And four years later they’re still saying it!”

He fearlessly invokes his dust-up with Whole Foods: “Think about the people at the grocery who stock your shelves.”

-- Eric Scigliano

8:20 p.m., a McGinn supporter's predicition

Crosscut McGinnwatch Squad (CMS) chats with veteran black community activist and McGinn volunteer Charlie James, whom he hasn’t seen in years. Or decades? “You know what an old man is?” says Charlie. “A young man asking ‘What happened to me?’”

Shortly before the results show, Charlie calls the primary for McGinn and Ed Murray, who “really has a base.” I mention that people down in my (SE) neighborhood seem to like Harrell or Steinbrueck. Harrell should have the home advantage there, but “he didn’t show up. He’s going to be a strong candidate, but he wasn’t ready this time.

”I was standing down at the corner of Martin Luther King and Othello for two weeks, waving a McGinn sign. Harrell[‘s campaign] didn’t show up there until today. He gave that spot to me!

“I think he learned a lot.”

-- Eric Scigliano

8:18 p.m., McGinn again

The joint’s full and getting noisy. The mayor passed through 15 minutes ago in a blue shirt, carrying a dry bag and a proper pressed official white shirt, pressing the flesh and looking for a phone booth. Don’t they still say to wear blue instead of white on TV? He either doesn’t recognize or doesn’t want to see CMS.

CMS shares his booth with KING-5 reporter Linda Brill and family, along with KING intern Savy Byron, daughter of another KING luminary named Linda: “People always get them confused.” They decline to help CMS with the pitcher the CMS tactical assistance division rashly ordered before bailing out.

Estela Ortega gives a rousing warm-up pep speech: “We put our heart and soul into this race because Mike McGinn is the people’s mayor!” She asks people to shout out the issues that lead them to support the mayor: “Transportation!”  “Education!” “Gender pay equity!” “No coal!” And closes, as at his campaign kick-off in the Filipino Community Center, with “Viva Mike McGinn! Viva Mike McGinn!”

-- Eric Scigliano

8:11 p.m., Murrayland

The Croc is filling up. 130 adults are milling around the main floor, and another 20 people are cordoned off in the under-21 section. Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles is here. Three TV cameras have moved in too, along with a roving KUOW reporter. Staffers are passing out yellow and blue Ed Murray signs. No sign of the Senator yet, but his partner, Mike Shiosaki, is here.

--John Stang

8:10 p.m., Steinbrueck ready 

A political consultant tells the crowd at Peter Steinbrueck's party that "we are 21 minutes away from victory." The candidate moves inside, where the music is Seattle artist Macklemore's "Can't hold us." From the party at China Harbor, you can look out over a still-sunlit Lake Union, where sailboats float by.

-- Ashley Walls

7:50 p.m., Steinbrueck's soiree

As he waits for the results, Peter Steinbrueck tells a KOMO news reporter that he is feeling good about the election’s outcome. He said he is excited about the possibility of being one of the two finalists for mayor and discussing the issues facing the city. He is standing outside the China Harbor on Lake Union, where he is hosting an election party, and personally greeted, well, just about everyone. As I walked up, an energized, smiling Steinbrueck walked up and asked for my name.'

-- Ashley Walls

7:50 p.m., Ed Murray hoedown

A slide show is entertaining Ed Murray's guests here at the Croc. The show features photos of Murray and former Gov. Chris Gregoire, a prominent supporter, and of Murray walking in a parade. Yellow candles on the table brighten (sort of) the dark room as the crowd begins to gather in anticipation of the promised 8:15pm results.

-- John Stang

7:15 p.m. McGinn Party

The Crosscut McGinnwatch Squad (CMS) has successfully deployed at 95 Slide at 722 Pike Street, site of the sometime-to-start McGinn primary party. CMS has claimed the best booth in the house and progressed from pints to a pitcher, while KOMO 4's would-be competition has to sweat in tie and cuffs outside on the sidewalk. So far only the roadies are here, taping up campaign signs and — yes — setting up a battered plywood podium. One, Alex Broner, has come all the way from Honolulu, where he works for a bicycle-pedestrian planning effort called the BYK Project, to help bikin' mike. (Alex is also from Seattle.) 

95 Slide is the same venue that hosted McGinn's November election victory party. And then again it's not. Back then it was the War Room, a revolution-themed, raw and wild disco/hip-hop mecca, just the place for an insurgent candidate. Now it's a Pike-Pine version of a sports bar, with baseball-card style portraits of illustrious Mariners, Sounders, Seahawks and, most important, Sonics. Just the place for the incumbent promoter of a hedge fund tycoon-led scheme to build a basketball stadium in the tideflats and bring the NBA back to Seattle.

CMW can report that Slide 95's signature sliders are very good and its French fries are superb. The mayor's roadies got this one right.

-- Eric Scigliano

Crosscut archive image.










Crosscut reporters Eric Scigliano, John Stang, Knute Berger and Ashley Walls are out partying with Seattle's mayoral hopefuls tonight – and live blogging (ever so tastefully) on what the candidates and their followers say, do, think, drink, etc. Make yourselves comfy. The parties are just getting started at:

95 Slide on Capitol Hill - Mike McGinn

The Crocodile (Belltown) - Ed Murray

Hagerty's, at the Washington Athletic Club (Downtown) - Charlie Staadecker

Mount Baker Community Club in (duh) Mount Baker - Bruce Harrell

China Harbor (Lake Union) - Peter Steinbrueck

Night Out block party (Phinney Ridge) - Kate Martin

Montlake Ale House (Montlake) - Joey Gray




Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors