1. Mayor Ed Murray held his first reelection fundraiser last night. He held the event at the fancy Capitol Hill home of Roger Nyhus; Nyhus heads corporate PR firm Nyhus Communications whose clients include Alaska Airlines, American Express, SDOT, and Expedia.
(Murray also held his first fundraiser at Nyhus’s home in December 2012 when then-candidate Murray kicked off his original mayoral election bid. We called that out at the time because Nyhus’s clients back then included Move Forward Washington, the group that was lobbying for the controversial Cherry Point coal train proposal.
About 300 people attended the Murray fundraiser last night where Murray raised $25,000 and the campaign announced that five of the nine city council members had already endorsed Murray: Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Lorena González (there goes that rumor), Bruce Harrell, and Debora Juarez.
Transportation Choices Coalition executive director Shefali Ranganathan gave the fundraising pitch last night. (TCC, a pro transit and pedestrian group, helped pass Murray’s signature $930 million transportation levy in November 2015.)
As for Murray, he repeated the theme he ran on in 2013: That Seattle could overcome its internecine lefty bickering to “prove” Seattle could advance a national progressive agenda in the divisive Trump era. He also pointed to the successful parks district measure, the pre-k measure, the Seattle-only bus measure, the transit levy, and this month’s doubled housing levy as signs that voters were in on “joining me to create a more livable, equitable city.”
Murray will reportedly hold a more official kickoff fundraiser at the Westin in October.
Two of the remaining four council members who weren’t on the early endorsement list—progressive Mike O’Brien and socialist Kshama Sawant—have been recurring names as potential 2017 Murray opponents, though those rumors haven’t been as prevalent this year.
2. Speaking of Murray, yesterday, he announced he’d hired George Scarola as “the City’s first ever cabinet-level director of homelessness.”
Scarola, a former aide to Democratic speaker of the house (and sometimes Murray opponent in the internecine left bickering, state representative Frank Chopp, D-43, Wallingford), was most recently known as an education reform lobbyist for the League of Education Voters in Olympia between 2003 and 2012.
Scarola, Murray said, will be responsible for managing “the city’s homelessness efforts across departments, providing oversight and evaluation of outcomes, strategic guidance, and leading community engagement.”