Nick Hanauer, the wealthy lefty donor best known for pushing a gun control initiative, backing charter schools and Arne Duncan-style ed reform, and writing class traitor editorials in support of increasing the minimum wage, has started an independent expenditure political committee with the Service Employees International Union Health Care 775—the home health-care workers' union—to support mayoral challenger, state Sen. Ed Murray.
The group hasn't reported raising any money yet.
The committee is called People for Middle-Out Economics, a reference to the (frankly focus-group-sounding) term for expanding the middle class that Murray has taken to using on the stump. Murray has said he will phase in a $15 minimum wage in Seattle. SEIU 775 is currently spearheading the $15 minimum wage effort in SeaTac. While IEs often play the attack dog role in campaigns, SEIU 775 spokesman Adam Glickman, the treasurer for the new group, says it will be doing pro-Murray mail pieces "focused on his [Murray's] economic opportunity agenda," something that SEIU got behind right after Murray announced his support for a $15 minimum wage.
Hanauer has already contributed $5,000 to another pro-Murray IE, People for a New Seattle Mayor, a group that is largely being funded by the Seattle firefighters' union. That group did a controversial TV ad bashing Mayor Mike McGinn for closing the city's Division of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention. The Seattle Times did one of its "Truth Needle" columns on the ad and found it "Mostly False" because it implied McGinn's decision to close the office was responsible the 60 percent increase in domestic violence aggravated assaults.
Another Murray IE, largely bankrolled by the Seattle Chamber (interestingly, an opponent of groups like SEIU on last year's paid sick leave fight), has stopped fundraising since the primary.
McGinn has two IEs backing him—Working Families for McGinn, which is backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 21 (which backs McGinn's fight against Whole Foods in West Seattle), and another IE, UNITE HERE TIP, backed by the hotel and restaurant workers union.