We'll get to last night's Candidate Survivor in a second where it was revealed that Mayor Mike McGinn and state Sen. Ed Murray don't know what the state's minimum wage is; where Bruce Harrell, who grew up in the CD in the turbulent 1960s, got frustrated with the trendy crowd ... leading to one of the best quotes of the night (re: SPD accountability, "You all are just getting hip to this now, but we've been fighting for this shit for 30 years"); where the candidates read campaign haikus; where it was revealed that Kate Martin is the only the candidate who (acknowledged) smoking pot since legalization; and where King County Executive Dow Constantine, no he hasn't suddenly jumped into the mayor's race, but based on last night's performances, he probably should—was more candid than any of the candidates. A little contrarian reality check: He pointed out that Bellevue is more diverse than Seattle).
But first, monthly expenditure reports came in last night, so we have the numbers on how much money the candidates actually have in the run-up to the August 6 primary.
Charlie Staadecker, who, by the way, disdainfully skipped Candidate Survivor last night, has raised a respectable $195,000 for a total unknown, and has the most money on hand, $70,000.
Peter Steinbrueck, who's raised the least money of all the serious candidates, $150,000, has the most on hand of the contenders: $53,000
Ed Murray, who's raised the most money overall, $300,000, has the next most money on hand: $44,000.
Incumbent Mike McGinn, who's raised the second most, $268,000, has considerably less cash on hand: $29,000.
And Bruce Harrell, who's brought in $240,000 total, has the least of the contenders: $16,000.
Looking for signs of momentum: In the last month, Murray raised $78,000, Harrell raised $57,000, Steinbrueck raised $51,000, and McGinn raised $41,000.
Big footnote here: a national union whose local has endorsed McGinn, the hotel and restaurant employees union, UNITE HERE, has created a pro-McGinn independent expenditure—and they've kicked in $50,000.
Similarly, there's an independent political committee supporting Murray. After a new $35,000 in contributions came in yesterday from the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the real estate developer PAC, NAIOP, it has raised nearly $80,000—as opposed to the nearly $45,000 we reported yesterday. (Another footnote: The pro-Murray PAC has an outstanding consultant debt of $21,000—so subtract that.)
Okay, on to last night's Candidate Survivor, where McGinn demonstrated he still holds sway over the Stranger's young demographic, which crowded into the Showbox in the Market as Public Enemy covers blared over the sound system (the event is co-sponsored by the youth GOTV group the Washington Bus and the Stranger).
After a gauntlet of: rapid fire yes or no questions; a (threadbare) talent show portion (Harrell showed he can't sing and play guitar at the same time, and Constantine ridiculed him when he was brought on to critique the acts, while noting that Kate Martin—"whoever she is"—could); and timed questions about transportation, police reform, failed election promises (where's that light rail ballot measure? ... oh wait, he spent his time cueing up an anti-tunnel measure instead), and campaign finance, McGinn was the final candidate standing.
He beat Murray (2nd place, who actually had some of the keenest answers of the night, but also, as Constantine noted, didn't display any talent at all), and Harrell (3rd), after the final elimination round of multiple choice questions, including: How do you get to work—McGinn bikes, Murray buses, Harrell drives (a perfect metaphor revealed); do you rent, own, or, tailored question for Harrell, own two places—McGinn and Murray own, Harrell owns two; how big is the under 35 population of Seattle—only Murray got that one right; what's the minimum wage ($9.19)—only Harrell got that one right; plus questions about bus routes; and more.
McGinn was definitely the most macho in the final round, delivering a convincing slam. Asked about the DOJ consent decree, which Murray (and Harrell a bit more obscurely) accuse McGinn of botching for either bogging it down (too defiant, says Murray) or not taking advantage of it to dig deeper into police misconduct (says Harrell), McGinn chest thumped (to major applause): "They would have just accepted the consent decree ... I negotiated a good one." (It's true: McGinn added the community panel to the final agreement.)
However, it was Murray who was the most substantive in the final round. He trumped McGinn on the transportation (and subtext regionalism) question—perceptively pointing out that his unified regional approach is more likely to secure local authority from the state to build more light rail in Seattle. And he deftly responded to a tailored question about the conservative groups that have put money into the pro-Murray political committee. What policies would those groups (the Washington Beverage Association, the Chamber, for example) disagree with. Murray calmly ran through a progressive list of legislative accomplishments: passing the soda pop tax (sorry, Washington Beverage Association), enacting tough auto emissions standards, closing the estate tax loophole.
Other highlights: neighborhood activist Kate Martin (arriving after a kerfuffle at the CityClub debate at the downtown library earlier in the evening where she was thrown out after protesting her exclusion), dressed in high black boots and a country music get up, stole the talent portion, strumming an acoustic guitar and singing a re-worked version of "These Boots Were Made for Walking."
I'm Kate, and I am running/ running on grass roots
If you vote for me/
You wont get priced out of your boots ....
She also made the seemingly extravagant claim, when asked, for my money, the most appropriate question of the night that Washington Bus honcho and emcee Toby Crittenden, asked all the candidates before their acts (why should young people vote for you for mayor?) that she was responsible for city's network of skateparks.
Martin famously built a skatepark for her sons in her Greenwood front yard about 10 years ago and subsequently drafted a plan of her own for the city. She was not, however, on the taskforce that drew up the official plan.
Martin's skatepark did lead to one of the best one-liners of the night, though. When all the candidates were asked: In my backyard or not in my backyard? (a reference to Peter Steinbrueck's reputation as the NIMBY candidate ... he wisely answered "In my backyard" and also reiterated his support for aPodments ...), Martin herself quipped: "In my FRONT yard."
As for Steinbrueck's showing during the talent portion (a reporter—who's not white—jokingly asked me as Steinbrueck came on stage, if he was going to do his "black voice" as his talent, a reference to his library debacle) he did a "magic" act. He proved that he has no skill as a magician, but in a Jeopardy!-style shtick, he pretended to predict the questions to answers on hidden cards. It provided the funniest policy wonk joke of the evening. Given the clues: a refrigerator, a Car2Go, and a bathtub, he shouted out: "What's the same size as an aPodment?" (Though Steinbrueck's best moment, at least judging from the audience response, was when he was the only candidate who claimed to have skinny dipped in Lake Washington.)
On other Yes or No and rapid fire questions: McGinn was the only one who picked light rail over buses; Murray was against district elections (McGinn and Steinbreuck were for them); McGinn, curiously, said he wouldn't fully fund the bike plan ... it's not possible right now ... (he also initially opted for "just right" on Tim Burgess' aggressive panhandling ordinance, which he actually vetoed ....); and Murray was the only one who said as mayor he'd increase the minimum wage to $15. (His campaign sent out a clarifying statement on that this morning, backpedalling a bit: "My position is that we need to work towards improved living standards for low wage workers gradually over time, in incremental steps, rather than by trying to push through a $15 minimum wage ordinance in Seattle."
Another question from the Yes or No round also seemed to put the spotlight on Murray. All the candidates were asked if they've ever taken money from coal. Murray, as PubliCola first reported, held his first fundraiser at political consultant Roger Nyhus' house. Nyhus' firm is promoting the coal train project. (And yeseterday, by the way, we reported that Nhyus' longtime partner—who is unemployed—contributed $5,000 to Murray's IE). Murray hesitated, but eventually said No.
A quick check for firms directly behind the coal train plan—SSA Marine, BNSF, Peabody Energy, Carrix—show that they have either not contributed to Murray at all or recently. BNSF, which would haul the coal, has contributed to Murray, including $700 this cycle. In 2009 they contributed $1,600. BNSF has contibuted about $6,000 to Murray since 1998.
As for the germane question of the night: Why should young voters vote for you? (by the way, I learned last night that 48 percent of Seattle is under 35), Murray had the best answer of all the candidates.
While McGinn, Steinbrueck, and Harrell had pre-fab answers (McGinn used the opportunity to read off his campaign website accomplishment list, such as planning for light rail, expanding broadband, and fighting coal trains ... and Steinbrueck mentioned "the future"), Murray was succinct with specifics. He noted that he passed a landmark anti-bullying bill that protected school kids from harassment and that he was honored by a teen suicide prevention network. On point, specific, and resonant.
But give the haiku conest to McGinn. Deep.
"Don't mind the haters/ I know they're just jealous/of my mayor's beard."