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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Murray Is Seriously Mulling a Write-In Campaign for Mayor

Posted by on Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Last night, state senator Ed Murray (D-43) got to see results of polling conducted over the weekend that shows he may have a shot at becoming Seattle’s next mayor. “I’m not going to give you numbers, but it definitely shows a path there,” he says. Conducted by a local union (he’s not saying which one, but it’s widely rumored to be the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union), the poll “shows softness on support for the two people who won the primary,” he says.

Murray would have to run as a write-in candidate against Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan, which is sub-optimal—to say the least—and his advisers know it. “A new generation of political people are saying ‘Absolutely, go for it,’” he says. “And a wiser group of people, who were in politics before I was, say, 'Write in campaigns just don’t work.'” He adds, “They say that if I were on the ballot, I would win.”

In addition to a very late jump on fundraising, a write-in campaign presents two challenges. First: People don’t know how to spell “Murray,” he says. “As a kid I never understood why my mother spelled out our last name every time she said it.” Lots of people drop the letter “a” or replace it with an “e.” And he says King County elections officials wouldn’t accept a misspelled write-in as a proper vote. Second: While the candidates on the ballot simply have to advocate for themselves, Murray says he’d also need to tell voters that they’d need to write in his name on a blank line.

But Murray has a base of support within the political establishment—more so than McGinn or Mallahan—from 14 years in the state legislature, where he's been an advocate for gay rights (such as the domestic partnership bill) and other progressive bills.

“The people who called and asked me to do this are people who I have worked with on civil-rights issues, public-safety issues and affordable-housing issues,” he says. “They are saying that they have never worked with [McGinn and Mallahan].”

Murray won’t make up his mind for up to two weeks if a write-in campaign is “actually doable.” While he weighs his options, he points out that he didn’t begin the Murray-for-mayor buzz (he was vacationing in the Cascade Mountains when the poll was underway), but he’s up for the challenge if the numbers look good. “I am flattered. This didn’t start with me.”

The remaining question is from which candidate would Muarray take votes—McGinn or Mallahan? He could take more votes from fellow progressive McGinn, potentially handing pro-business Mallahan the election. On the other, Murray could also play up his establishment bona fides (and grab union support that neither campaign has locked down), taking votes from Mallahan and McGinn.


Comments (50) RSS

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The Top 2 system is bad. Murray could have run in a Ranked Choice Voting election without worrying about being a spoiler. King County should adopt Ranked Choice Voting so that more candidates participate in the high turnout general election.
Posted by leon0112 on August 29, 2009 at 4:42 PM · Report this
Ed doing this would hand the election to one of these guys on a platter, and he has to know this as well as he has to know that he's got no realistic chance at winning. Does anyone know if he's got ties to Mallaspam or McGinn?
Posted by Gomez on August 27, 2009 at 10:32 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 48
If he's serious about being a write-in for Seattle Mayor, I wonder if he'll be at the Washington Bus event at Moe Bar tonight (Thurs) from 6-8 pm ....

Are we sure their offices are open on Nov. 2nd? The county shuts down one day a week now.
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 27, 2009 at 4:30 PM · Report this
@44: Murray may be an undeclared write-in today, but the deadline for declaring is not until November 2. RCW 29A.24.311: "Any person who desires to be a write-in candidate and have such votes counted at a primary or election may file a declaration of candidacy with the officer designated in RCW 29A.24.070 not later than the day before the primary or election."
Posted by Toby Nixon on August 27, 2009 at 2:34 PM · Report this
omfg... Murray is the fucking late 1990s. McGinn is the next 50 years.

Posted by Murray is the new Ralph Nader on August 27, 2009 at 12:40 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 45
Remember, if you want to write in a candidate, you must print it in block letters using a crayon, and the crayon must be white.

When signing your envelope, you have to then sign it in crayon too, but use a red crayon.

Otherwise, your write in vote will be discarded.
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 27, 2009 at 11:31 AM · Report this
@42 This was covered on KUOW on Tuesday. Murray is an "undeclared write-in" and therefore the rule you present does not apply. It is fully explained here:
Posted by elaineinballard on August 27, 2009 at 9:01 AM · Report this
It's a cheap gimmick to garner attention.
Float your name,
adoring fans beg you to run,
waver so they beg all the harder,
We've seen a case of it already this year on Slog- it must be a faggot affection...
Posted by Carabelle on August 27, 2009 at 5:55 AM · Report this
Also, if King County refused to count "Murry" or "Murrey" as a vote for Murray, they would be in violation of the state-wide standards for counting votes.

WAC 434-261-086(1)(j) says "Name variations. If a write-in vote is cast for a declared write-in candidate using a commonly recognizable nickname or spelling variation, it shall be counted as a valid vote for that candidate." See….

It is quite likely that Sherill Huff is aware of this rule and would obey it.
Posted by Toby Nixon on August 26, 2009 at 11:07 PM · Report this
Yes, some candidates in Washington have waged successful write-in campaigns. For example, Linda Smith secured the Republican nomination to the 3rd Congressional District in 1994 by a write-in campaign, and went on to beat the incumbent Jolene Unsoeld for the seat.
Posted by Toby Nixon on August 26, 2009 at 10:39 PM · Report this
Zebes 40
So if he really wants to be mayor, why didn't he get on the mayor bus months ago like everybody else?

How often are candidates successful when they start a write-in campaign in the middle of the election, based not on any sufficiently motivating personal ambition to be mayor, but on what amounts to a suggestion from some dude that they should go for it?
Posted by Zebes on August 26, 2009 at 8:49 PM · Report this
seandr 39
I don't see the downside to a write in campaign.

If Murray loses, he doesn't lose his Senate seat.

It's not clear to me whether he would take more votes from McGinn or Mallahan, but in either case, who cares? Unless you really really think the tunnel is the evil, they both suck equally hard.
Posted by seandr on August 26, 2009 at 8:45 PM · Report this
I would like to hold my fellow critics of Eddie Murphy's political career up to a higher standard: Don't just call him lame, refer to him by the colorful saxonisms he himself likes to use, or use homophobic slurs against him.

Tell us what he has done wrong.

For example:
1. Murry exempted new car tabs from the car-tab fee used to fund the monorail. So, he killed the monorail and later blamed its supporters for having an insufficient funding source.


Then, and only then, do you have the right to use the colorful saxonisms that tend to come out of Murry's two-sided mouth to describe Murry.

If Labor really wants someone who is actually pro-working-class as an alternative to McGinn and Mallahan, why not someone with less baggage? Like, say, Nick Licata?
Posted by BLueCollarEnviro on August 26, 2009 at 8:11 PM · Report this
Democratic Party Establishment Bullshit I say. Murray is a great legislator, but he's acting like a Democratic Party douche bag if he plays this game.

Posted by whatthehellishethinkin'? on August 26, 2009 at 8:01 PM · Report this
meowmeowkitty 36
This is a cheap idea. He needs to stay in the Senate.
Posted by meowmeowkitty on August 26, 2009 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 35
Remember, when you write it in, spell it like this:

"Ed IAmLateToFileCauseI'mLame" Murray"
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 26, 2009 at 7:09 PM · Report this
Raindog 34
The remaining question is from which candidate would Muarray take votes—McGinn or Mallahan?

Either your misspelling of Murray here is a subtle political tactic to destroy his chances or you are just a human being who occasionally makes mistakes. I think the answer is obvious.
Posted by Raindog on August 26, 2009 at 6:55 PM · Report this
DOUG. 33
Ed's a dumbshit if he does this.
Posted by DOUG. on August 26, 2009 at 6:32 PM · Report this
Cassandra's got it right. Murry pulls crucial McGinn votes. They both lose and lots of people think Murry is a cowardly weasal by waiting until the big dog Nickels was knocked out.
Posted by cracked on August 26, 2009 at 6:28 PM · Report this
I, too, like Sen. Murray right where he is (a rank-and-file state senator), working very effectively on one issue: civil rights. I'm glad he is no longer chair of the House Transportation Committee, where he was no friend to transit.

I'm curious to know what, other than civil rights, people think makes him any sort of "progressive".

The Chamber crowd (esp Joni Balter at the Times today) are drooling over his candidacy. Why do McGinn and Mallahan scare the Chamber so?

But yeah, if Ed had run for Mayor, it would have been a big boon to approving Referendum 71 (i.e. keeping civil rights in place). Maybe it is not too late for Ed, or someone of similar name in the LGBTQ community, to pull off some sort of stunt to ignite the Seattle electorate, and tip the scales toward approval. I'd actually have a lot more respect for Ed if he ran as a sacrificial lamb, lost, but carried 71 to Approval (and simultaneously took down Eyman's latest disaster).

Sen. Murray, I do support environmental mitigation for 520: Make it focused on getting pedestrians, bicycles, buses, and another light rail line across Lake Washington. That would do wonders for reducing M.L.King County's carbon footprint. Wouldn't turning 520 into a transit/bicycle corridor from UW to the eastside turn the eastside blue for the forseeable future?

Oh, and if you want more choices in general elections in general, Sen. Murray, please reconsider your opposition to ranked choice voting. After Pierce County voters adopted it, they had a six-way general election race for county executive, with all the candidates running competitive campaigns.
Posted by BlueCollarEnviro on August 26, 2009 at 6:20 PM · Report this
Murray is well placed to succeed McDermott in Congress. He is an excellent legislator with great values who also brings home the bacon. A genuine heavy hitter.

If he runs for Mayor however he will 1) lose badly, 2) alienate McGinn's supporters thereby 3) creating, from scratch, an Anyone But Murray backlash which will 4) defeat him in the race to succeed McDermott.
Posted by Cassandra on August 26, 2009 at 6:09 PM · Report this
@28 shut up troll. Slog readers are smart enough to know that voting "no" on 71 is a "yes" vote for bigotry. Voting "yes" on R71 will preserve the domestic partnership law, voting "no" will repeal it.
Posted by lorax on August 26, 2009 at 5:57 PM · Report this
Beat the Bigots!

Vote NO R71!!

Vote NO
Vote NO
Vote NO
Vote NO
Vote NO
Vote NO
Vote NO

Posted by Vote NO Vote NO Vote NO Vote NO on August 26, 2009 at 5:54 PM · Report this
21: This this this. The only reason to do a write-in campaign would be to syphon off votes from Steve Pool.
Posted by RL is too lazy to log in on August 26, 2009 at 5:36 PM · Report this
Mickymse 26
It would certainly help the Approve Ref. 71 campaign if Ed runs. (Approve Equality!)

But, what does it do to his credibility for future political campaigns for higher office if he loses? He's not ultimately interested in being Mayor. His aspirations are higher than that.

And, what the hell are folks doing supporting a write-in campaign after all the huffing and puffing to support a Top Two Primary? I know city races are "nonpartisan," but I'm sorry if you don't like the democratic results of a primary. Maybe you should have convinced more than 37% of people to vote.
Posted by Mickymse on August 26, 2009 at 5:22 PM · Report this
This would pave the way for Kwame Garrett.…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 26, 2009 at 4:59 PM · Report this
pissy mcslogbot 24
Ed, take this advice:

"Frodo, don't wear the ring!
The magical bling bling
You'll never be the Lord of the Rings"
Posted by pissy mcslogbot on August 26, 2009 at 4:44 PM · Report this
Run, Ed, run! Seattle needs a competent mayor, not someone getting on-the-job training who has no track record and no relationships to other law makers. We need a leader and you've shown that, Ed. We need you. Please run!
Posted by Sandman on August 26, 2009 at 4:40 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 22
I like Murray well enough, but I have no desire to see him abandon his senate seat and run for Mayor. And a write-in campaign seems like a fool's errand.

Don't do it, Ed.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on August 26, 2009 at 4:36 PM · Report this
doing this will just prove what an opportunist he is.

if he was serious about being mayor he should have ran, not be chickenshit at the so-called power of the nickels machine.

just like steinbruck, it is too late to say, if only i had run. next time run. stay in the senate where u are needed.
Posted by SeMe on August 26, 2009 at 4:34 PM · Report this
Vince 20
Please don't do this Ed! Please! You're needed where your are and if you want to be mayor run in a primary like everyone else. We'll end up with someone we don't want if you run a write-in.
Posted by Vince on August 26, 2009 at 4:34 PM · Report this
Baconcat 19
@18: Or the unions could drop the Murray tack and just go after Mallahan again.
Posted by Baconcat on August 26, 2009 at 4:32 PM · Report this
Whether something like this could work hinges on how soon and effectively Mallahan starts attacking McGinn's as-yet unreported but hardly secret weak points. If Mallahan goes on the attack soon and McGinn visibly flounders, maybe that's the time for Murray to go for it, if he intends to.

If Mallahan decides to cruise instead, leaving McGinn's image alone, Murray might need to lead with a good offense to get that rolling. Not sure that's something he's willing to do.
Posted by gloomy gus on August 26, 2009 at 4:25 PM · Report this
Can Murray legally change his name to M-u-r-r-y before November? Then change it back before Thanksgiving.
Posted by Run-Ed-Run on August 26, 2009 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Baconcat 16
@15: Anyone BUT Nickels. I thought that was clear from the results of the primary? Taking your ball and going home is fine, but gloating about it makes you look like a big weepy pustule.

Maybe Nickels can capitalize on super-delegates?! Or maybe Mallahan was born in Kenya?! Ohhhhhh, Nickels can pull this one off!!
Posted by Baconcat on August 26, 2009 at 4:19 PM · Report this
Crazy Cat Guy's Husband 15
@12 wrote:
"Seattle-style PUMA, ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha"

And in this case "the party" is unified behind whom? Which party? Unified on what basis?
Posted by Crazy Cat Guy's Husband on August 26, 2009 at 4:14 PM · Report this
Kinkos 14
i can't see this working.
Posted by Kinkos on August 26, 2009 at 4:09 PM · Report this
I would vote for him, campaign for him, and give him money.

But if you're reading this Sen Murray, the fact that this thread received only 10 comments in it's first hour probably says something about your chances.
Posted by Oneway on August 26, 2009 at 4:01 PM · Report this
Baconcat 12
@8: Seattle-style PUMA, ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Posted by Baconcat on August 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM · Report this
polkaparty 11
Dumb move, Ed. Don't do it.
Posted by polkaparty on August 26, 2009 at 3:59 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 10
Great. Now we'll definitely get stuck with Mallahan, who's Nickels without any of the experience.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 26, 2009 at 3:58 PM · Report this
This is nothing but vanity.
Posted by murrie on August 26, 2009 at 3:42 PM · Report this
crazycatguy 8
We need Murray in the Senate. I will write in the only decent candidate (we had) for mayor: Greg Nickels.
Posted by crazycatguy on August 26, 2009 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Has anyone *ever* been elected as a write-in candidate? For a seat that gets more than a hundred votes total?
Posted by shabadoo on August 26, 2009 at 3:28 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 6
@4, it's voicing concerns about the lack of experience the two bring to the table. And I do volunteer work with homeless, and we're concerned about both McGinn and Mallahan. (And now you know the underlying "real" reason these two scare me)
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 26, 2009 at 3:21 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 5
@ 2) Indeed. Fixed. And thank you.
Posted by Dominic Holden on August 26, 2009 at 3:16 PM · Report this
stinkbug 4
“They are saying that they have never worked with [McGinn and Mallahan].”

Uh, does that mean that can't work with them? Ugh.
Posted by stinkbug on August 26, 2009 at 3:16 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 3
Waiting two weeks means he's waiting to see if the intial excitement wears off. And if the numbers are really that good, he's trying to figure out how to pull off a write-in victory.

Frankly, it's become a three way race at this point.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 26, 2009 at 3:15 PM · Report this
What does the King County Auditor have to do with accepting ballots? Wouldn't it be the King County Elections Director, Sherril Huff?
Posted by TJ on August 26, 2009 at 3:13 PM · Report this
Does a person have to physically write in the name, or could a sticker be applied to the ballot to the right of the check box? I could see direct mail with a peel off sticker to go right onto the ballot - would this be admissible?
Posted by Just saying on August 26, 2009 at 3:13 PM · Report this

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