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Ross: America’s most interesting mayoral campaign is in Seattle

A lot has changed in the four years since Mike McGinn and Ed Murray first dueled over the Seattle mayor job. (AP)

Put it on your calendar, August 1, 2017: the Seattle Mayoral primary.

A few weeks ago, it didn’t seem like it would be a terribly exciting contest and then suddenly there were rape allegations against Mayor Ed Murray. Then came a tweet from his old foe – former Mayor Mike McGinn, which simply said: “Keep Seattle, McGinn 2017.”

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Not the greatest slogan, but the message was clear, a new challenger has entered the race.

“We can’t let this city become San Francisco, trending rapidly towards an enclave only for the wealthy,” he said. “We need a city for the rest of us, a truly livable Seattle.”

Digging back into our archives, we found the exit interview that Luke Burbank and I conducted with McGinn on Dec. 31, 2013. In that context, another run for mayor doesn’t seem so surprising. When asked if he’d ever run again, McGinn answered: “You know, I didn’t ever plan to run in the first place. It was an opportunity that presented itself so I think my goal is to focus on the mission, work with others to make the world a better place. And if opportunities arise again, we’ll see what happens. It worked pretty well the first time, but that was never my mission — to run for office. My mission was to just try to do good and be a good parent.”

That was back in 2013, when McGinn seemed to be done with or least exhausted by politics.

“The layers of concrete that settle in around issues because politicians’ primary goal is to look out for other politicians, not to offend them, be in this world of favor-for-favor,” he said then.

Flash forward to Monday, and McGinn certainly sounded like a politician, even if he refused to discuss elephant in the room with Ron and Don.

Murray quickly countered McGinn’s announcement by saying the ex-mayor picked fights with everyone under the sun. McGinn’s comeback: “I’ve mellowed.”

Since then, we’ve added another new candidate: urban planner Cary Moon. Now we have at least a 10-way race – which includes Alex Tsimerman. And anybody who’s been to a Seattle City Council meeting or a King County Council meeting, or really any place where there’s public comment in front of local politicians, knows who Alex Tsimerman is.

We thought this was going to be a boring mayoral campaign? It’s going to be the most interesting mayoral campaign America has ever seen.

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