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Candidates square off in Seattle mayoral debate, but what are their differences?

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, left, looks on as Sen. Ed Murray speaks during a debate in their race for mayor Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in Seattle. In an interview with The Associated Press, McGinn said he thought $15 was a "fair starting point" for the minimum wage discussion. McGinn challenger Murray recently announced that he would push for a $15 minimum wage but planned to proceed with a phased-in approach. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

What’s the difference between these two liberal Democrat candidates? As one of the questioners at Wednesday night’s debate, I had to ask.

“I think it’s an issue of effectiveness,” said candidate for Seattle mayor, Sen. Ed Murray. “With police issues, dealing with the justice department; we’ve seen a city that’s been challenged between frictions between the council and the and the mayor, and I think what I bring to this race is someone with experience of working with people different than myself on a broad range of issues.”

Said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, “This is my first elected office and I ran because I thought government was getting too far from people. I’ve held something, like, over 150 town halls. We’ve gone out to communities, we’ve worked with people and we’ve worked on what they’ve told us to work on and while the states are cutting education we’re 43rd in the nation, we’ve doubled the families in education levy while the state faces deep budget challenges. We’ve finished every year in the black, rebuilt the rainy day fund and protected human services. We saw deep unemployment and we worked with our businesses small and large and now we’re one of the fastest growing places in the nation.”

One of the more heated exchanges was when Murray asked McGinn about his opposition to the tunnel project and saying that he’d be making peace bricks out of melted guns from a buyback program guns which he knew had already been melted down:


At the end of the ’09 campaign you promised, despite your own misgivings, you wouldn’t oppose the viaduct – and you spent two years opposing it.

You had a press conference where you said you were going to melt down guns as a result of the gun buyback program, but you had already known that those guns had already been melted down.

So as we look forward on transportation, as we look forward on issue of growth, how can we as a city trust you, as we have those examples?


I said I accepted the tunnel, but I did not accept the cost overruns. In fact, it was the cost overrun provision that you put into law in the legislature, in which you told the legislature that we’d pay cost overruns, and then you told us that the state would pay.

In respect to the gun meltdown, our commitment was, we will use guns that are confiscated or that come from gun buybacks from that gun meltdown and it was not our intent to mislead anybody on that point. And in fact, when we do our second gun buyback we’ll use those guns for that purpose.


To correct the record, it was not my provision in the bill that forced Seattle to have cost over runs.


But you voted for it, didn’t you?


I did vote for it because I believe moving transportation forward was key to this region.

You can listen to the full debate on

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