Who Did YOU Vote Against For Mayor?

And how did we wind up having to choose between Mallahan and McGinn?

By Eric Scigliano October 27, 2009

Department of No Surprises: On Sunday, The Seattle Times endorsed Joe Mallahan for mayor. How could it not, after The Stranger gave so many big wet kisses to Mallahan’s opponent, Joe McGinn? If you want to know which way either paper will swing on a race, just see whom the other opposes. The local endorsements game was less predictable before the Weekly and P-I got out of it.

But the Times also offers this interesting speculation: “Voters in the primary were more likely voting against a candidate, the incumbent mayor, than for his replacement.” That’s half right, at least. Many, maybe most, primary voters did indeed cast negative votes. But many, maybe most of them were voting against McGinn or Mallahan—not against Mayor Nickels, who washed out in the primary. I’m amazed how many people have told me they voted for McGinn to make sure Mallahan wouldn’t make it through, or for Mallahan to make sure McGinn wouldn’t. The common thread: They all feared or loathed one of the two, and assumed the incumbent mayor would sail through the primary and they’d have Greg Nickels to kick around, support, or decide on in the general.

So here’s my equally unprovable speculation: If Nickels hadn’t succumbed to over-clever strategic voting in the primary, he’d whup McGinn or Mallahan in the general. As it is, folks will have to pick between two negative choices.

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