As primary election nears, Seattle's mayoral race heats up

SEATTLE -- It’s the region's biggest political race of the year -- the campaign for the next Seattle Mayor. And as the primary election nears -- it will take place Aug. 6 -- incumbent Mike McGinn finds himself in the political fight of his life as several candidates challenge him from all different directions.

McGinn’s a lawyer, and actually seems to relish facing and debating adversaries. On the campaign trail he continually reminds people of what he faced four years ago as he took office.

“When I started out, deep, deep recession, high unemployment, and we went out and we listened to you,” McGinn said at a recent campaign forum on South Lake Union. “You told us to work on jobs and public safety every day, and employment is up and crime is down to a 30-year low.”

The challenger to McGinn who is raising the most money and getting the most endorsements is Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle). Murray has his share of supporters, too -- last week former County Executive Ron Sims and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce jumped on his bandwagon.

Murray touts his record of building coalitions in Olympia as a legislator, which he argues, is in contrast to McGinn.

“If you are tied of the politics of attack, if you are tired of the politics of division,” Murray said at a recent appearance, “If you want to find a city where we can show the rest of the state where we can show that progressives can come together and accomplish things, then I think I’m your candidate.”

Another candidate who is getting traction is former city councilmember Peter Steinbrueck. He has become the “neighborhood” candidate, voicing concerns about growth and one of McGinn’s biggest achievements, the deal for an NBA facility in SODO.

“Why put a sports arena in the middle of our regional industrial complex that would bring a million more cars to that area, making us less competitive globally and putting at risk those important living wage jobs?,” Steinbrueck asked at the South Lake Union event.

As the primary approaches, the airwaves are about to get crowded with ads as the race for mayor continues to heat up. This week, current city councilmember Bruce Harrell aired his first commercial taking on the incumbent.

“Our current mayor has failed and fractured this city,” Harrell says in the ad's opening. “As mayor, I will bring people together.”

Other candidates in the race are businessman Charlie Staedekker, activist Kate Martin, IT worker Joey Gray, socialist candidate Mary Martin and Doug McQuaid.