Mayor Mike McGinn conceded victory to state Sen. Ed Murray in the 2013 Seattle mayor’s race on Thursday morning.
During a cordial and reflective press conference at his International District campaign headquarters, McGinn praised his successor's campaign, thanked supporters and staff, and, responding to press questions, even took a stab at looking ahead. While he did not reveal any future plans, he would not rule out a future run for public office.
McGinn said he had a good conversation with Murray. “I called Ed Murray this morning and I congratulated him on his victory and offered him support in transition from myself, the mayor’s office staff and all city staff,” McGinn said. “He was very gracious in response.”
“He put together a very strong campaign,” McGinn added. “And that was reflected in the vote totals.”
Joined by a handful of campaign staff and volunteers, McGinn spoke and answered questions for about 20 minutes. He stood at a podium near the front door of his headquarters, dressed in a suit with a blue tie. Apart from the throng of reporters in the entranceway, the office felt subdued compared to the final days of the campaign. Some of the tables were gone and laptops used for the campaign’s massive phone-banking effort sat closed with the their power cords coiled.
“This office was crackling the last week or two,” McGinn said as he thanked his supporters.
Referring to his positions on education, citywide broadband, transportation and the environment, McGinn said: “Everyone was trying to move left of me in the last four years.”
“If you take a look at Mr. Murray’s agenda, that’s an agenda I ran on four years ago,” he said. “And that’s an agenda that’s now been picked up by the public."
The mayor stood by his vocal opposition to state legislation that said the city would have to cover cost overruns for the tunnel replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, but also said it might have hurt him politically, “I’ve probably been digging out of that hole ever since.”
“I think sometimes I rub people the wrong way,” McGinn said. “But I hope people know I was always trying to do the right thing.” Reflecting on his political tactics later in the press conference, McGinn used a basketball analogy. “I may have dribbled the ball off my foot a couple times when I should have made a pass.”
When asked about his future plans, he said, “That’s a really bad question to ask two days after an election… Time, we’ll see where it takes me.”
“If elected office is one of those pathways, if that opportunity is there, I might take it.”
McGinn was a partner in a Seattle law firm and chaired the local Sierra Club chapter before starting a nonprofit, Great City. His election in 2009 as mayor was his first run for public office.
McGinn thanked not just his own staff but also city department heads and employees generally for their work.
He also had fond words for his time in office, saying: “There’s no better political job in the world than big city mayor.”