With less than two weeks to go, our anonymous campaign hack, ElectionNerd, handicaps the race.
We are, finally, getting some real fights going on in this race, but only in Seattle could it center around a hippie yuppie grocery store like Whole Foods. (In West Seattle no less!) Seriously, this is the only publicly discussed policy issue right now, and be thankful because before this, McGinn's challengers were simply talking about McGinn's personality.
Only 11 days until the Primary Election and ballots are already arriving at King County Elections. Have you voted? Despite the pending deadline (and the Whole Foods epic) it is getting a little quiet. Most of the campaigns efforts are focusing on bringing in the last dollars, getting mail to arrive on time to your door, following that mail with a nice volunteer to ask for your vote, and not screwing up.
On to the ratings:
Bruce Harrell Grade C+/ Primary Odds 10:1
Harrell brought in just under $10,000 for the week and there are reports of his second mail piece arriving. He looks to be doing a fair amount of field as well. That said, with recent polling putting him in fourth and his lack of taking any riskier moves of late to stand out, it's getting harder to see him getting through the primary. He walked the fence on the Whole Foods debate in Fizz this AM, but sounded a lot like a lawyer during the answer, and that is not going to win any voters on either side of the issue.
With time short and many voters disengaged, Harrell, who admittedly, continues to stand out at every forum, gets a C+ for keeping up an active campaign, but one without any spark. His odds remain the same at 10:1
Ed Murray Grade B-/ Primary Odds 2:1
Murray’s money pipeline exploded again this week with just under $50,000 coming in. Amazing. He is likely pouring more into TV and with these levels, he could move to local news spots, which is the best possible place to buy time. The PAC supporting Murray brought in another $14,500, some from a Broadband PAC that could be Comcast money. The fact the candidate is outraising the PAC given the city’s limits on donations to candidates, is a little odd.
No matter how much a candidate raises, you can still find yourself in the Jewett, Sidran, Mallahan pile. In fact, they often go hand in hand. That said, he also showed that he is still finding his legs as a candidate. Exhibit A, B, and C: His slow response on Whole Foods, his flip flop on Whole Foods and his biz-friendly position on Whole Foods.
There is a long way to go in this race and most Murray moves are placing him closer to the more business-friendly side of Seattle politics. No matter how much a candidate raises, you can still find yourself in the Jewett, Sidran, Mallahan pile. In fact, they go hand in hand. Those candidates all outraised their opponents by embarrassing levels as well, but were tagged as the conservative in the race. Murray gets a B- for avoidable mistakes this week, but coupled with amazing fundraising his primary odds move up to 2:1
Mike McGinn Grade B/Primary Odds 3:1
Mcginn brought in just under $7,300 this week. Not amazing, but at this point you are just adding to TV buys, like Murray, still deep in basic cable. His third, or even fourth, mail piece has landed, depending who you ask. Finally, phone banking/doorbelling reports from his campaign are coming in frequently.
For the position the Mayor is in, the Whole Foods debate could not have arrived at a better time. He stands in contrast every other candidate on an issue that matters to a major labor union.
For the position the Mayor is in, the Whole Foods debate could not have arrived at a better time. He stands in contrast every other candidate on an issue that matters to a major labor union. Like the light rail expansion issue, you wonder why the other candidate’s cannot just say, “I agree” and move on. By placing him alone, they're all but forcing UFCW to back his campaign with everything they have. Couple that with the wage theft event this week, which is another union effort, and McGinn is locking in as the candidate of the Seattle (far) left and will ride that train to victory or defeat.
McGinn gets a B for the week. Fundraising should be stronger, (much!) but Whole Foods is what he needs right now, giving him a spotlight in a liberal city just before the primary. His primary odds remain at 3:1
Peter Steinbrueck Grade C/Primary Odds 8:1
Steinbrueck brought in $6,300 this week (not bad) and there are reports of a mail piece landing. Not much being seen in the way of field, but his campaign told PubliCola they are a little behind on getting the operation up and running. With the extra money and no TV running that can take last minute cash, it is likely Steinbrueck will do more robocalls to voters. There was also an insert in the Seattle Times that was paid for by Nick Licata for his November election, but it featured Steinbrueck very prominently.
Steinbrueck, got a little feisty this week too taking on the Mayor and Murray on a number of issues: Whole Foods, library funding, and the state transportation package. Though a good move, these sort of unbridled attacks (like his Whole Foods comments in PubliCola on Monday and in the Times on Tuesday) should have started months ago. With time so short on this primary, like Harrell, you wonder what it would take for the voters to swing to Steinbrueck?
Steinbrueck gets a C for the week. Not much movement to break out of the pack and his slowly building field efforts are not helping. His odds remain, barely, at 8:1 of getting through the primary.
One thing that many people missed in the KING 5 poll was the real leading candidate. It was not Ed Murray (22 percent), it was Undecided at 25 percent. [Editor's note from Josh ... that's what I said on KING 5 the day the poll came out.] That leaves a big hole for Steinbrueck and Harrell to get through this primary, but they need to make their case. We’ll see in a few weeks if they can pull it off.
A final point on McGinn. Should he make it through the primary, the thought that is bouncing around is that 20-25 percent is his ceiling, as all voters have already made an opinion about him. That seems a bit simplistic to ElectionNerd. As Murray races to the business community's party line, he is forming a strong contrast with McGinn as a lefty. It would be hard to see a Steinbrueck voter ( 1960s left) or Harrell voter (1960s left) defaulting to Murray because they did not vote for McGinn.
Mail in your ballot!