With state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill) barred from raising money as the special legislative session in Olympia drags on and on, his chance of emerging from the crowded field of candidates without the cash to campaign on was looking like a crippling handicap.

His efforts, however, got a real Jolt today: An independent political committee calling itself "People for Ed Murray" is setting up shop to raise money and campaign on his behalf (independent committees like these and candidate campaigns are not allowed to coordinate their efforts, meaning People for Ed Murray can't communicate with the official Ed Murray campaign about campaign tactics and strategies.)

Political consultant Dean Nielsen was hired by the group which features a list of important political leaders, most notably Thomas Goldstein, the former executive director of the youth get-out-the-vote group Washington Bus, and Aaron Ostrom, a longtime environmental community leader who heads up Fuse, the state's premier progressive advocacy group.

Both Goldstein and Ostrom could add a progressive punch to Murray's field efforts that threaten McGinn's claim to the rock-the-vote style efforts that helped get him elected in 2009. 

Also co-chairing the new group: Former mayor Charley Royer; environmentally-focused foundation head Martha Konsgaard (which gives Murray some green cred as well as access to big money); and (no surprise here) Josh Friedes, the former executive director of gay rights group, Equal Rights Washington. Konsgaard's husband and co-foundation head, Peter Goldman, supports Peter Steinbrueck thanks to both men's opposition to the failed SoDo Sonics deal. 

(One thing the group lacks: People of color, which could be a problem for Murray given McGinn's and Bruce Harrell's efforts to court minority communities.)

Nielsen would not outline the group's fundraising goals or strategy (are they going to go after McGinn?—IE's typically do the dirty work).

"We're leveling the playing field," Nielsen said, referring to the fundraising advantage that the other candidates have while Murray is prohibited from raising money in the runup to the August 6 primary. 


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