In early results Tuesday night, Ed Murray leads in the race for Seattle mayor. Murray has 56 percent of the vote; Mike McGinn has 43 percent.
“We know we’re probably going to have to be calling up Ed Murray and congratulating him at some point,” McGinn said in a speech shortly after the initial results were announced. “We know that that’s a big, big thing to turn around.”
The crowd booed, to which McGinn responded: “Not yet? OK, not yet.”
Murray addressed his cheering supporters Tuesday night.
“This campaign was energized by the belief that Seattle could show the nation that government can work once again,” he said.
In their campaign to court the left-leaning voters in Seattle, the two mayoral candidates largely embraced similar policy positions, including a $15 minimum wage, new taxes and legal marijuana. They each have lengthy backgrounds championing liberal causes in the Seattle area.
Murray is a longtime state lawmaker who for years led efforts to legalize gay marriage in the state. He’s also led efforts to broker major deals in Olympia, such as two transportation revenue packages that were passed in 2003 and 2005. If elected, he would be Seattle’s first openly gay mayor.
Murray talked Tuesday night about growing up in a working class family in Seattle, saying his family had a belief in public service.
“Those who sacrifice for us as public servants are not our enemies but our friends,” Murray said.
Before becoming mayor, McGinn was an activist with the environmental group Sierra Club, and he has continued to stake out a message of environmental stewardship. McGinn often rides his bike around Seattle, is pushing for pension fund money to be divested from coal companies and is an advocate for expanded transit services.
During the campaign, the two candidates offered a contrast in their strategies for pushing policies. Murray said McGinn’s approach during his first term has alienated groups and political leaders in Olympia, making it harder for Seattle to win support for its priorities. McGinn has questioned Murray’s effectiveness given that a Republican-dominated majority now controls the state Senate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.