Last night, a few hundred barefoot and blazered men and women crowded into a condo rising 23 stories above Belltown to sing the praises of, and throw money at, Ed Murray. The wine was chilled. The strawberries were a touch unripe. Kennedy quotes flew through the air and the views were worth more than all my organs—including eggs!—combined.
The event felt like a party more than a fundraiser for Murray's mayoral campaign: People excitedly toasted R-74 as if it were yesterday's victory, instead of last year's. They toasted Murray and his track record in Olympia. They toasted his upcoming marriage to long-time partner Michael Shiosaki, which Murray announced will take place four days after the August 6 primary this year. They lavished praise on Murray in questionable metaphor: "He's an orb," one man told me. "He's on the fast track. He's the heavy favorite and he's running fast. This is what victory looks like."
They cuttingly dismissing his competitors: "Look at Bruce's endorsement list—it's basically every person of color who's lost a race in the last 10 years."
Ed Murray, runaway orb.
And McGinn? "We can do better," became the refrain of the night, a refrain echoed by Rep. Cyrus Habib (D-Bellevue) and Murray himself: "On the streets around this condo, people sleep because they have nowhere else to sleep," Murray said while stumping to the crowd. "We can do better."
But as much as everyone loves a party, this was a fundraiser, and one an undercurrent of urgency that's been missing in the city's crowded clown-car of a mayor's race. You see, Murray has until midnight on Sunday to raise money for his mayoral campaign, after which he will turn back into a sweaty pumpkin known as Senator Ed Murray, a man tasked with drafting a new state budget with his colleagues around a $1.2 billion budget deficit.
Sen. Murray can't raise campaign funds while the legislature is in its 30-day session, and with only $117,430 in recorded donations, he's trailing behind Tim Burgess (who's raised $194,559), McGinn ($153,781), and Charlie Staadecker ($132,126).
The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission releases its new contribution numbers for all the candidates today, so those numbers could soon change. Nevertheless, "We must raise at least twice as much as the other guys raise in a month," explained Murray's campaign manager, Sandeep Kaushik, last night. "So that's what we're going to do."