He Wants to be Mayor

By Morning Fizz October 19, 2009


1) Wow. What is Mike "No waterfront tunnel" McGinn thinking? Yesterday afternoon, he announced that he will "uphold" the tunnel deal.

I called him to ask what his political calculus was, but (despite our lovely McGinn endorsement) he never called back.

Here's what I think he's thinking: He wants to be mayor.

The polls don't look good. (I've heard rumors that some polling has him down 12 points. A PubliCola poll from last week had him down six—36 to 30 with 33 percent undecided). I guess he realized his anti-tunnel zealotry was costing him more votes (undecideds and green liberals who would otherwise vote for him) than it was picking up for him. He'd hit a ceiling. His numbers weren't moving. (I wrote about McGinn's need to move beyond his anti-tunnel base in the analysis of our poll.)

So, he rolled the dice, thinking he won't lose his anti-tunnel base (that's where the "I will, however,  continue to ask  tough questions" comes in), while he could gain enough undecideds and soft Mallahan supporters to win.

Not a bad play. Most of Mallahan's support is soft. From Gov. Gregoire's "Mallahan" endorsement to the establishment money that's been going Mallahan's way—Mallahan's lead is really more anti-McGinn than pro-Mallahan. McGinn's announcement is an attempt to woo those people to his camp.   "It's safe to vote for me."

The added message: "I've listened to you. I'm not the intransigent dick you think I am."

(I imagine he cut a deal on this too, with a couple of big name endorsements to come. State Sen. Ed Murray?)

Will it work? Maybe.

Here's why it could fail, though. McGinn's got to start all over with some crafty messaging. It'd be one thing if he had tons of money (he doesn't), and he didn't have a rich opponent who's bought up TV time of his own. (Mallahan, who has raised over $500,000,  is $95,000 in the red—meaning, there are some big Mallahan TV buys out there.) Mallahan will be able to scramble McGinn's new concilatory message with "flip flopper" attack ads.

Ultimately, I think a ton of people want to vote for McGinn, but they can't get past his anti-tunnel thing. McGinn had to make this move.

Only time—and money—will tell if it pays off.

2) Wow. Our Tom Carr endorsement made headlines over at the, got derided by PubliCola's readers, and even pissed off Cola writers and staffers.


Read our apparently controversial Carr endorsement (Carr is a leader on alternatives to incarceration, a leader on combating domestic violence, and he's a leader on better legal protections for city bicyclists) here.

3) Wow. Erica—usually not in the office until around 10—got up by 6am today. She was scheduled to be on the journalist panel  at this morning's—7:30 am!—Downtown Seattle Association city council candidates' debate at the Central Library.

We'll get a report on the debate later today.

4) Wow. Four Seattle hip hop acts are on the bill in New York City this week at the yearly high-profile CMJ music fest for up-and-coming bands.

Seattle music writer Jonathan Cunningham interviewed all four bands for PubliCola—D. Black, Grynch, Champagne Champagne, and THEESatisfaction (last seen upsetting VERA)—asking about their expectations for the potentially make or break gig.

We'll post his report later today.

5) Wow. Okay, this has nothing to do with Seattle, but have you read Sunday's NYT yet? Part 1 of David Rohde's feature about being kidnapped by the Taliban? The zeitgeist piece on Portland's lefty Rep. Earl Blumenauer and his frustrations with President Obama? These are exceptional news articles.

And man,  The New York Times Magazine—with this week's feature on Gen. McChrystal in Afghanistan and the article on music decoding—has totally replaced the New Yorker as America's best weekly magazine.

For an era when newspapers are supposedly dead. I'm like,  night of the living dead, baby.

(The New York Times Book Review was great this Sunday too. The review of the Thelonious Monk book was a pleasure to read.)

This morning's Morning Fizz brought to you by Fuse:

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