With seven weeks to go until the August 6 mayor's race primary, we're going to start grading the candidates on their performance from from the previous week. We've asked our CampaignNerd, an anonymous political hack, for their uncanny insights.
Mind you, these grades don't exist in a vacuum. We're also posting each candidate's odds of making it through to the primary.
A couple of more good weeks like Harrell had last week, for example, and his odds are going to get much better. Fast.—Eds.
Bruce Harrell: A- / Odds: 8 to 1
Great fundraising month in May (he raised $71,000), and he passed big deal legislation that squares with his campaign trail rap about social justice; the legislation helps released felons get jobs. He likely shored up one base with that ordinance, but it might simultaneously cause Harrell to lose business community support, jeopardizing an opportunity (the chamber is rumored to be hedging their bets as Ed Murray’s odds of getting through the primary every day he's in Olympia where legislators just started a second special session.
Ed Murray: B+ / Odds: 4 to 1
Murray posted amazing fundraising for May ($103,000), but he also posted some amazing expenditures, even without his $30,000 poll. He only has $85,000 on hand—and, of all places, did he really need expensive new campaign headquartes on Capitol Hill? But an independent, well-connected, expenditure committee, People for Ed Murray, set up shop to pick up the fundraising slack for Murray.
However, he reportedly hasn't been wowing the establishment crowd who he needs to join his base of gay rights and Democratic party liberals for the A-grade momentum he needs to become the actual front-runner opponent insiders think he is.
Mike McGinn: B / Odds: 2 to 1
McGinn didn't do as well with fundraising as Harrell and Murray, but he spent very little giving him the most cash on hand heading into the final month before the primary ($106,000). And he kept up his hurricane of press events which are still, shockingly, well covered. (And the latest, announced this morning—testimony in D.C. against the coal trains—is likely to endear him to the general Seattle voter). But he is also making unforced errors like nagging legislators at endorsement meetings. We know all politicians are thin skinned, but just don’t prove it on the record. "Other people have done this to me," he told the Times after green state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon endorsed Murray. However, McGinn continues to impress at forums and endorsement meetings, and he recently signed on savvy fundraiser McKenna Hartman.
Peter Steinbrueck: C+/ Odds: 5 to 1
Steinbrueck had a good fundraising month, for Steinbrueck ($36,000), but also spent a ton. (We're not sure if it's because its he's seems to be parking all over town, but his expenditure reports do give the impression that he's the only candidate who's constantly out campaigning.) He is not raising enough to spend this much on staff, consultants, though. That said, Peter is starting to pitch this “Complete Communities” message that seems to strengthen the NIMBY/Lesser Seattle coalition.
Charlie Staadecker: D / Odds: 32 to 1
Fundraising has fallen off its recent clip but still spending a lot. Being unknown Charlie needs money to get out his message out, when he finds one, and it is just not there. He's very close to dropping off this list, and didn't even show up to the recent 34th District endorsement meeting in West Seattle.
Wrap Up: Looking at this race, we are still utterly mystified why Tim Burgess got out of the race, especially having raised the most money. No one is looking all powerful and Burgess' war chest, had put him in a formidable position.
The race feels a lot like it did a month ago. McGinn and Steinbrueck are likely ahead of Murray and Harrell in the polls as neither has been able to generate much press or spend money this early on building name ID. Ballots go out in a little less than a month and both of those candidates need to make a move or sit out the general and watch a the same-old same-old fight between old Seattle and new Seattle, which McGinn (new Seattle) is likely to win.