SEATTLE – Senator Ed Murray is Seattle’s next mayor.
"I called Ed Murray this morning and congratulated him on his victory," McGinn said at a Thursday morning press briefing.
After additional vote counts were released Wednesday, it was clear McGinn could not close the gap. Murray led with 55.61 percent of the votes. King County Elections had counted 108,350 votes in that mayoral race.
"I've had a great, great job for four years," McGinn said after thanking his staff and supporters. "The people of this city are wonderful."
McGinn acknowledged that “sometimes I rub people the wrong way,” but said he did so in trying to do the right things. He also claimed Murray’s agenda “is the agenda I ran on four years ago.” McGinn said his legacy is the progressive issues he pushed: education, transit, and addressing climate change.
In the city of SeaTac, the proposition that would make the minimum wage $15 was still leading late Wednesday. The statewide initiative to label genetically modified food, I-522, failed Wednesday.
The statewide initiative that would make it easier for initiative signature gatherers was rejected. That was the effort supported by longtime initiative writer Tim Eyman.
After being introduced Tuesday night by former Gov. Chris Gregoire, Murray spoke to a packed crowd at Neumos on Capitol Hill.
"If current trends continue," Murray said, "we are here tonight to declare victory."
A year ago, Murray was in the same neighborhood speaking to supporters of Referendum 74, the same-sex marriage bill he helped champion.
"Even just a few short years ago,” Murray said, “it would have been unimaginable that I would stand before you elected as your next mayor and I would stand beside the man I love who I was able to marry this summer."
Regan Dunn had a commanding lead in his King County Council re-election after the Wednesday afternoon count. Courtney Gregoire, daughter of the former governor, won for Seattle Port Commissioner Position 2. Dow Constantine was re-elected as King County Executive. Sally Bagshaw was re-elected to the Seattle City Council, as was longtime councilmember Nick Licata. Mike O'Brien also retained his spot on the council.
Opponents say the so-called "Living Wage" initiative in SeaTac said it would cost the city upwards of $3 million in administrative costs.
Opponents to Initiative 522, regarding genetically modified food, raised more money than any initiative campaign in state history. Supporters say it could lead to federal regulations, but opponents argue it will drive up grocery prices.
Initiative 517 requires that voters be allowed to have their say on any proposal that qualifies for the ballot, even if a lawsuit has been filed against it.
The initiative also would give supporters a year instead of the current six months to collect signatures, and it would make it a misdemeanor to interfere with the signature-gathering process.
Business groups and others have lined up in opposition, saying the proposal will affect their ability to deal with nuisances outside of their stores.
A few days before the election, Murray lobbed accusations of cyber bullying, claiming McGinn's campaign posted the cellphone number of Planned Parenthood's political director after the organization endorsed Murray for Seattle mayor.
McGinn's camp says it's actually a campaign number listed on the Seattle Ethics and Election Commission's website. McGinn said his campaign listed the number to address false accusations that he's not pro-choice.
Murray, a Democrat, was elected to the state Senate in 2006 and previously served 11 years in the state House of Representatives. He has served as the chair of the House Transportation Committee, and when supporters of same-sex marriage celebrated on election night, it was Murray who led the way to that victory. A week after the primary, Murray plans to marry his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki.
"My vision for the city is that we once again become a city that is community," he told KIRO 7 late last month.
He said the police department needs to have a mayor who has their back, and there needs to be more training of police in an urban atmosphere.
Murray also led the fight to raise gas taxes for transportation projects, including the State Route 99 tunnel. As mayor, Murray said he'd scrap the separate plans for cars, transit and bicycles and would have a single balanced plan instead.
On the issue of livable wages, Murray said he would work with the City Council to find a solution.
McGinn, a Greenwood neighborhood activist and state chair of the Sierra Club, was elected the 52nd mayor of Seattle in November 2009. He upset Mayor Greg Nickels in that year's primary, and defeated community organizer and Real Networks executive Joe Mallahan in the general election.
McGinn has advocated for bike trails, and hired a former Cascade Bicycle Club advocacy director as a top-paid adviser. He joined police in targeting backpage.com, an online classified ad service, arguing it made things too easy for underage prostitution. McGinn also has been a supporter of marijuana legalization and taxation, supporting Initiative 502 and speaking at Hempfest, Seattle's pro-pot rally that is the world's largest.
In making his case for re-election, McGinn told KIRO 7 that Seattle's economy is doing better than it was in 2009 and crime is down. He said his mistake years ago was coming in and trying to change things all at once. In his time as mayor, McGinn has angered former Gov. Chris Gregoire, had battles with the City Council, and last week the Downtown Seattle Association said not enough was being done to stop downtown crime.
If re-elected, McGinn said he'll push ahead for streetcar plans and will create separate bike lanes on more streets. But McGinn – who repeatedly opposed the State Route 99 tunnel – told KIRO 7 he has done plenty for cars, too.
"We're making it easier for people to get around," he told KIRO 7 late last month. "That's what really matters."