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Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Ed Murray Endorses Jamie Pedersen in Seattle’s 43rd District

Posted by on September 5 at 10:05 AM

[First posted at 8:50 a.m., and now updated with more from my interview with Murray.]

I usually make it a point not to be awake at 7:30 a.m., but when State Rep. Ed Murray called me late last night and invited me over for an early morning interview on the first day of the fall campaign season, I knew I was probably going to hear something interesting. And indeed I did.

Murray, who is leaving his seat in the state house to run (unopposed) for the state senate, has said for some time that he wouldn’t be endorsing a candidate in the contentious six-way race for his house seat. But Murray has changed his mind in light of the recent ruling against gay marriage from the state supreme court. This morning, over oatmeal and tea, Murray told me that he’s endorsing gay rights activist and Preston-Gates lawyer Jamie Pedersen:

Given the marriage decision from the supreme court, and given, in particular, the reprehensible language used in the decision, I believe that the political ground under the gay and lesbian community has shifted significantly. It was an earthquake of a setback and the need to move forward united and strong every place we can is the reason I’m endorsing Jamie Pedersen…

The next few years are going to determine whether we are going to move forward on marriage or whether this is going to be a 30-year-long battle.

I’ve made an argument for 11 years that having a place at the table makes a difference… Jamie is smart, driven, hard-working, and while he is new to the world of politics, I think he’s smart enough and he’ll learn. And that’s an opportunity that neither the gay and lesbian community nor this district should lose.

Given Murray’s 11 years representing Seattle’s 43rd district in the state house, and given his stature within Seattle’s gay community, this announcement is sure to shake up the race. (In fact, as I said on Friday, it could well determine the winner.)

However, Murray down-played any sense that his endorsement would be decisive, telling me:

I think it’s still very much of a race for all of them. Like all politicians, I hope that my endorsement is worth something, but I have learned that in the end it’s going to be Jamie Pedersen who wins and loses this, not Ed Murray’s endorsement.

Supporters of the other candidates—Stephanie Pure,
Jim Street, Bill Sherman, Dick Kelley, and Lynne Dodson—are sure to be disappointed by Murray’s decision to take sides in the race, and Murray went to some effort during our breakfast to highlight his admiration for all of the candidates, and two in particular:

This has been very difficult because I respect all of these candidates, and two of them I have worked with in the past — Jim Street, who is one of the most competent elected officials I have ever worked with, and Bill Sherman, who is a personal friend and would be an outstanding member of the legislature

(Expect to see those quotes on mailers and campaign literature for Street and Sherman soon.)

Murray continued:

I think I now will have the volunteers of five campaigns upset with me, and one campaign happy. This is not the smartest move on my part. But I feel so strongly about the marriage issue that I’m willing to do something that is not overall in my best political interest.

There has been a lot of discussion within the gay community this year about whether identity politics should trump all else in choosing the state representative for a district that covers Capitol Hill and other very gay areas of Seattle. Murray knows his endorsement will be seen by some as putting identity politics and one issue (gay marriage) above all else, and he answered the charge this way:

First of all, you should not support somebody simply because he or she is gay. The person should be competent, and you should believe in his or her abilities to be effective as a legislator. Second, we have many friends and many supporters in the legislature. But I can tell you after spending 11 years behind closed doors with other legislators, nobody pushes our issues as their first priority unless they’re gay.

He also hit back at the suggestion that four openly gay members in the legislature is enough.

This thing of ‘no more gays’ is just bigotry, and when I hear it from people on the left I am just stunned. You’re talking about a whole group of people who still have very few people who represent them in public office and still lack the rights of their fellow citizens. So I find that very appalling.

As for his take on the race, Murray declined to predict a winner, but he did predict that it would be close, with a fragmented 43rd District electorate likely not giving any one candidate a majority.

Whoever wins this is going to win with probably 25-percent of the vote. They’re going to have probably three-quarters of the district who didn’t vote for them. So whoever wins this seat is going to have a lot of work to do. It’ll be a period of building bridges, not holding grudges.

On the frequently-whispered criticism that Pedersen lacks the people skills and charisma necessary to make it in the legislature, Murray said:

If Jamie’s going to succeed, he’s going to have to develop his political skills and probably a more open personal style. If he doesn’t, he’s going to get a primary challenger.

But he also took a shot at his own mercurial tendencies, saying Pedersen’s quiet demeanor can be turned into an asset.

Some people will like the fact that Jamie is more measured and less volatile than I am. So the criticisms can also be turned into a positive.

Any specific advice for Pedersen if he wins? In an answer that will be of interest mainly to gay political insiders—but will be very interesting to them—Murray said, without hesitation:

Stop listening to Evan Wolfson and start listening to past and current legislators. Being an advocate is a very different thing than being a legislator.

And finally, Murray said he knows this endorsement will be seen by some as the anointment of an heir to the legacy of Cal Anderson (the state’s first openly gay legislator), who held the 43rd District’s house seat before Murray. However, Murray doesn’t exactly see it that way. Assuming he wins his senate race, which seems all but certain since he’s running unopposed, Murray says he will still be the point-person on gay rights issues in the legislature:

I’m not anointing an heir. I plan to remain the legislative lead on GLBT issues in Olympia for some time to come.

CommentsRSS icon

Glad Ed gave you the news instead of giving it to that dumbass Josh.

My view of Murray just plummeted. I thought he had much more sense than this. All of his hard work on transportation and other issues just went out the door as I now see him as a single issue legislator.

I want a well-rounded legislator who can focus on all important issues in the 43rd including, but not limited to, gay issues. I think 43rd voters will figure out that Jamie is not that well-rounded figure and this last minute endorsement showcases the political pressure exerted on Murray in the final days by the GLBT funders.

I'm voting for Bill Sherman because I know he's solid on GLBT issues and every other major issue I care about.

This is sort of pathetic – insider word is that Murray caved to pressure from Jamie’s big-$$$ fatcats (Pedersen’s raised more money than Ed has ever dreamed of). Guess that Ed Murray, and elections, can still be bought.

One more reason to vote for Dick Kelley and campaign finance reform, if you ask me.

Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed were also on the payroll of Preston and Gates.

So being a lawyer at Preston and Gates say's what about Pederson?

It is telling that Murray waited this late to endorse Pedersen. It is hardly a rousing call to action.

It is clear that Sherman is the rising star in the Democratic party and he will the 43rd's interests well in Olympia.

Ed Murray worked as a paralegal at Preston Gates over 15 years ago. He probably still has many tie$ to the law firm.

Haha, Tim is right. The ballots dropped a week ago. This means nothing. I'd bet most of the 43rd has already voted.

GIVE ME A BREAK! Pedersen was one of the main outside lawyers for the SEattle Monorail Project. He was one of a handful of finance "experts" who dropped the $11,000,000,000 - 50-plus financing fiasco on this city two years after the vote. He buried the facts that would have allowed us to cut our losses much earlier.

That guy is the poster boy for bad government.

Reynaldo is right. Pedersen was also the lead guy in the Monorail's effort to hide its internal communications from public scrutiny. That's what we need! Vote Pedersen and Murray for more secrecy in government!

"I think he's smart enough and he'll learn." Too bad this endorsement comes so (conspicuously) late in the race that Pedersen won't have time to print that on his literature.

Honestly, I have to wonder if this is Murray's backhanded way of doing a little damage to the Pedersen campaign. Endorsing Pedersen after absentee ballots have dropped, and after having had months to endorse Pedersen but steadfastly refusing to do so, really raises more questions for me about Murray's real views on the race than it answers.

Wow -- There seems to be some very unhappy folks on this blog. Is someone jealous that his candidate doesn't know how to run a good campaign?

Ed Murray is Jamie Pedersen's 'October surprise' -- just a month early. For those undecided voters looking for that extra something special to make up their minds, Jamie Pedersen just delivered. You all can expect similar results in Olympia.

Jamie Pedersen Voter -

Why don't you just own up and change your posting name to "Jamie Pedersen's Campaign Manager"?

Whether he gets their endorsement or not, no one seems to have anything bad to say about Bill Sherman.

Ed just rolled the dice and the odds are stacked against him.
When someone other than Jamie gets elected, it will be fun to watch Ed do personal relation's damage control.

All I know is that I get a mailing from Jamie Pedersen every fucking day. All those mailings are pretty much the same. I have to waste my time shredding them because they have my name and address on them. I have received one mailing from Bill Sherman and one from Dick Kelly. Fuck you Jamie!

For someone who's billed as a leader in the LGBT community, it certainly has been difficult for Pedersen to consolidate political support for his campaign in the LGBT community. That's been kind of an open secret in this race all summer; I'm a bit surprised he would choose to call attention to that by staging the Murray endorsement so late. Unless, of course, Murray didn't consult him before doing it...

First of all Keshmeshi, doesn't all mail have your name and address on it? Why shred? I think you're just an angry Sherman supporter. Please recycle.

Also, Ed is an independent thinker. Listen to him, this was not a political decision because it's a bad one at that! So forget Pedersen fat cats...they aren't going to make up for all of the donors in the other campaigns COMBINED, whom he just angered intensely.

Finally, Ed will have no "explaining to do" in Olympia. First, because Jamie is going to win. And second, because even if he didn't, the other candidates would understand why a gay civil rights pioneer would want to have a similar ally in Olympia.

With everyone gone over Labor Day, I'm sure that there will be MANY undecided voters who haven't voted yet. And that quarter of people who go to the polls...yeah...they can swing this election, hell, even MAKE it.

Ed Murray agrees: Seattle should be the *only* legislative district in Seattle with *no* women representing it in Olympia.

Ed Murray is not running unopposed in the Senate race, he has a token Republican opponent named Loren Nelson:

I think the time has passed whereby we can trust the comments on SLOG to be from actual "people-on-the-street" and not from ardent supporters of one candidate or another. :-)

I am not Jamie's campaign manager, but I am a friend of Jamie Pedersen. I've known Jamie for ten years, and he is very smart and hardworking. I've met many of the other candidates at the Town Hall "debate" and in-person when they are walking the district. We are blessed with an impressive field, and I will be happy with any of the six as my representative in Olympia. The reason my vote will go to Jamie, however, is that he will be a powerful legislator in Olympia. He's VERY smart, a good listener and now he has Ed Murray's official endorsement, and this will all carry weight in Olympia. With Jamie in office, our district will continue to have a greater influence over state government than a "typical" district. Please join Ed Murray and me in supporting Jamie Pedersen. You'll be happy with the results.

We don't need any more gays in State Government. There are enough already. I'll be voting for a straight representative because they care more about gay issues.

While I have great respect for Ed Murray and understand the pressure to endorse a gay candidate in light of the marriage decision, he got this one wrong. Bill Sherman is the best candidate to fight for the issues that matter most to Murray and the district: environmental protection, education, transportation, and, yes, marriage equality.

Posters above -

Who started the theory that Jamie lacks strong support in the gay communiy ... not true.

Every leader type I know supports him and I did an informal poll .... twenty gay men who live in the 43rd ... 18 will vote for Jamie, the other two are divided, Dodson and Street. A black Lesbian I know will voter for him in the primary and socialist in the general.

SGN had a well writen lengthy front page interview with him last week, SEAMEC did endorse as well as Equal Rights Washington (last week).

No gay support ...... dream on those who are getting a tad bitter sounding ... looks like the bile and barbs will be flowing in the last weeks.

Predict, Pedersen by 1000 votes .... by the way, ED MURRAY IS ALMOST HEROIC TO GAY MEN ACROSS ALL SECTORS. His endorsement is a very big coup.

I like Murray and wish he had stayed quiet. It's a tough place for him to be.

Although gay, I cannot in good conscious vote for Pedersen. My main priority is affordable housing and tenants rights. The other issues are very important, but there's something about having a roof over my head that bumps this up the list.

At this rate, I won't be able to afford living on Capitol Hill in the next 12 months.

For being part of a minority, I've been disappointed that Pedersen's platform doesn't consist of more social justice issues.

As I wrote a few days ago, for many gays, focusing strictly on gay marriage is a luxury some of us can't afford.

I'm sure it was just an innocent mistake that your link to Dick Kelley's campaign website is erroneous. Please correct it to

Thanks much...

Hey "No More Gays" - enough gays in state government, you say? Is there a quota for gays of which I'm unaware? Are there enough left-handers, blondes, dyslexics in government? What would enough gays be? three? six? 100? What number would please you and why? Blogs are clearly the best place for backwoods people to anonymously embarrass themselves - but you see I'm not calling for any fewer ill-conceived postings - more is less in this case. Keep 'em coming, elohssa.

Why do we always assume that Jamie is for the "gay" vote. Whatever happened to the " lesbian" vote, or the "queer" vote?

Aside from sleeping with men, Jamie is still a white male and is given so many privelages just for being that.

I think that the only thing Jamie has that is capable of standing up in this race is his hair.

Too late, I voted last Thursday.

oh, and I voted for Dick Kelley, although I did spend a few agonizing minutes almost voting for Stephanie Pure. Sure, Bill Sherman's also a good choice, but in the end I decided to go with Dick Kelley.

Never even spent any time considering Jim Street, Lynne Dodd, or Jamie Pedersen. Sorry.

Most of my Fremont neighbors apparently already made up their minds to vote for Dick Kelley too - that surprised me, actually. Didn't expect that.

My, aren't you all progressive? All anit-corporate, anti-lawyer, anti-white guy. Yet you have no problem saying there are enough gays in government. Fucking homophobes.

Anti-lawyer? Um, excuse me, but I thought Bill Sherman was a lawyer?

And, last time I checked, he was white too. What people do in their own bedrooms is noone's business.

I applaud Ed for endorsing Pedersen, and hope that Pedersen wins the primary. While most of the candidates have great qualifications, I think Pedersen will be a powerful advocate for LGBT equality, as he long has. He will be a great addition to the other openly gay members of the Legislature. Moreover, he will be well positioned to continue Murray's record of bipartisanship, and will effectively represent the 43rd.

will in seattle,

FWIW, Jim Street is also a lawyer.

I thought Jim was, but wasn't sure.


Please disclose your connection to Dick Kelley in the 43rd District Democrats when stating your choice for Pos. 1. You may have done so in a previous comment, for a previous post, in a previous month (or not), but it's worth including, especially here. Thx.

I'm voting for Pure.

oh come on! you think ed did this b/c he really likes jamie? that was the reason, he would have done it a long time ago.

i bet he just had a lot of queers with money pressuring him-- he's been trying to raise money with no serious opponent, so i imagine that must be hard. jamie will take away his thunder as the reigning gay in the house-- not a smart move for ed.

its pure politics, people. its too bad.

for everyone who still hasn't decided:

bill sherman will be mixing and mingling and singing karaoke tomorrow night at the Wild Rose. come chat with bill and let him know what you think we need in the good 'ol 43rd.

ps. his hot campaign manager will be there, too. :)

Jonnie Cum Lately Sherman --- I guess I understand grandstanding for votes --- but where was this whiz kid during all the big time political action facing the gay community in the past ---- fair weather friends, a dime a dozen.

And, obviously, Sherman's pals are bad mouthing the only cock sucker in the race as not being gay enough - some standard the straight guys knows better than Jamie. Think not.

Geez - I live in the 37th - or for sure would do Jamie in the booth.

Interesting - Jamie has earned every step of his life - and does not pout or whine about it.

Read the material, he worked at Mac Donalds helping to pay for college.

All you rich farts out there, take note. This guy is from the real working class of Puyallup, WA. Ed and Jamie come from the same class background - workers.

He has my vote, and will work my street for him I just decided.

BOO to Ed Murray for taking the GAY OR BUST FOR 43RD bait from Pedersen.

Jamie Pedersen will be an outstanding legislator, and I applaud Ed Murray for endorsing him.

Working with Murray on civil rights issues will be one thing Pedersen will do, but he'll also be effective with health care, transportation, and environmental issues. Pedersen is a rising star. Watch and see.

Right on, Ed!

Lynne Dodson was also given a full endorsement by SEAMEC, the only other one of the six beside Pedersen.
She alone was rated Outstanding! by the Municipal League, the others receiving only Good or Very Good ratings.
Her record on civil rights should send this teacher and social activist to Olympia

Lynne Dodson was also given a full endorsement by SEAMEC, the only other one of the six beside Pedersen.
She alone was rated Outstanding! by the Municipal League, the others receiving only Good or Very Good ratings.
Her record on civil rights should send this teacher and social activist to Olympia

If Ed Murray felt compelled to endorse Pederson, I am glad he had the good sense to add a few words of praise about Bill Sherman. Bill's brains, political savvy and grounded nature make him my choice to send to Olympia.

Important as gay marriage is, there are lots more issues in Washington State, issues affecting everyone. I have very little confidence in Jamie Pedersen for transportation, education, environment, business oversight, criminal justice reform and tax system overhaul, to name a few off the top of my head.

It's a question of prioritizing issues, and of the greatest impact on the people as a whole.

For example:
I am a pro-choice woman, but have supported candidates who were tepid, to say the least, on choice (example--Dennis Kucinich) because they were strong on so many other levels. I have been fighting against the death penalty for decades, but have had to wince and vote against abolitionist candidates because the opponent was so much better on an array of topics that directly affect everyone.

In other words, sexual identity could be a tie-breaker for voters who could otherwise not distinguish among the similarly-positioned candidates, but I don't see it as so overwhelming an asset, above all other attributes, that Ed Murray should suddenly show up with an endorsement based on only that.

Pedersen is pretty much my last choice for the seat (if anyone cares)--he seems unresponive to the public and uninformed on the inner workings of government.

Hoppe whoever else wins works nicely with Murray. The good news is--I think most of the other candidates would get over this.

I saw comments by “follow the money” and “Its just politics” that Murray endorsed because he needs the campaign dollars. So I checked the PDC web site and Murray has raised more then Pedersen, over $150,000 at the end of August. Then I looked at fundraising in 04 and Murray raised almost that much during that campaign. Most of it went to House Democratic Campaign Committee. It is just terrible these liberals in Seattle raise money to give to Democrats! Something should be done about it! So much for the he did it for money.

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