Wallingford resident Joe Mallahan, 47, a nearly-10-year VP for strategic operations at T-Mobile, will officially jump into the mayor's race today, adding his obscure name to an already low-profile field.
By his own account, Mallahan's only political experience seems to be supporting bargaining rights for teachers as a student intern at KIRO-TV back in the 1980s. He also tried to become an Obama delegate last year.
Although, he boasts that he transformed businesses practices at T-Mobile. He says: “When I started at T-Mobile, the prevailing notion in the telecom industry was low-income customers with no credit history didn’t deserve cell service at the same rate everyone else paid. I disagreed and in 2001, the President of T-Mobile assigned me ownership of our prepaid program. Now, we provide equitable cell service to more than 7 million low-income customers. You can be a profitable company and be socially responsible. Those principles aren’t mutually exclusive.”
Mallahan's priorities seem to be transportation and housing. He says: “We need to make sure workers can get to work, students can get to school, and our city is attractive and affordable for laborers and working families once again.”
Mallahan tries to spin his light political experience into a positive with a dig at longtime politician Greg Nickels, adding, "Listen, I haven’t been a politician since I was a teenager nor have I been fundraising for eight years."
But money does appear to be Mallahan's strength. He says that in addition to doing "grassroots fundraising" he will be "on par with the incumbent's war chest" by next month with, "my own personal contribution to the campaign."
According to the most recent filings at the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, Nickels has over $300,000.
The rest of the field—former Sonic (as in early 1980s), James Donaldson; Sierra Club leader Mike McGinn; and dating service businessman, Norman Sigler—are low on cash. Donaldson has raised $3,000 (the funniest story of the campaign so far), McGinn has raised $17,000 (kinda respectable in comparison to the other challengers), and Sigler has raised $927.
2. Speaking of fundraising, Republican Susan Hutchison—the former KIRO-TV anchor who's running for King County Executive—was making the rounds at a fundraiser for King County Sheriff Sue Rahr last night, which drew a largely Republican crowd. Hutchison has been low-profile since entering the race earlier this month. Most recently, she reportedly snubbed the Alki Foundation interview.
3. Also on hand among the GOP crowd—State Sen. Fred Jarrett (D-41, Mercer Island), who's battling it out with Hutchison for the conservative vote in the King County Executive race. Jarrett—who only became a Democrat in 2007—can still vote like a Republican. As we documented when he first jumped into the race, this session he's voted against retro reform, against payday loan reform, and for gutting I-937. (Although, to be fair, plenty of Democrats voted to gut I-937, and Jarrett ultimately voted for payday reform when the bill came to the Senate a second time.)
4. Another candidate in the King County Executive's race, State Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina)—who officially jumped into the race on Tuesday (check out his podcast announcement on HA Seattle's Podcasting Liberally here)—is also making a play for the conservative-to-moderate vote in the race, telling me yesterday that he and fellow-Eastsider Jarrett have similar politics. Although, his best line came when he took a swipe at the other two candidates in the race—Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips—who are battling it out for the liberal vote. "They've been on the County Council for a quarter century, what makes you think they'll be able to do anything differently than the way it's been done?"