It’s the Monday before Election Day (August 6) and you can feel the excitement!

So the big question on everyone’s mind is: “Will Mayor Mike McGinn make it through the primary?" And if he doesn’t, then who will? Most of this is a reflection of McGinn's lukewarm polling numbers and the memories of then-Mayor Greg Nickel's surprising ouster in 2009.

For fundraising, we are going to use the final  expenditure reports, which run from July 16 to July 29.

Before we dive in, this is another reminder to VOTE, either by mailing in your ballot or by butting in at the locations on this list

On to the ratings:

Bruce Harrell Grade B+/ Primary Odds 9:1 

Harrell raised almost $19,000 in the last half of July. Not bad. except when compared to the numbers Murray’s cash machine has been putting up.

More than one campaign doing field work has reported to PubliCola a bump in Harrell-identified voters. Given that we saw a 25 percent undecided rate in the last KING 5 poll, those folks have to go somewhere.  Harrell offers a deep Seattle resume and an interesting personal story. Is it enough to get through him the primary? 


If we see a three-way tie, around 20 percent, for McGinm. Steinbrueck, and Harrell, Harrell could go through, more on luck than anything else.  But if Steinbrueck continued to slide as we’ve seen (his paid media is a little sparse) and McGinn is frozen at 21 percent, it could be possible for Harrell to pass his competitors and go to the November election.

Harrell gets a B+ for a slow, steady race that has put him in a position to possibly get through the primary.  With the reports from other campaigns showing a Harrell bump, we are moving his odds up to 9:1.

Ed Murray Grade B+/ Primary Odds 2:1

Murray’s money just keeps flowing; he's raised almost $87,500 in he last two weeks alone.  Barring some totally unexpected collapse, he is going to be on the November ballot. 

What is equally amazing, is that with all that money raised, Murray is still almost $47,000 in debt.  His C4 shows TV buys on the networks and large postage bills, but is that really necessary? Apparently they think so, but it is a hole he needs to climb out of in the general.     

A pro-Murray independent expenditure group raised almost $50,000 in this period, and has its own deficit of $28,000, with most of the late money coming, unsurprisingly, from the city's Chamber of Commerce  

Murray gets an A- with the amazing fundraising but a little hit for the deficit spending. His primary odds stay at 2:1.

Mike McGinn Grade B+/Primary Odds 4:1

McGinn brought in just over $19,000 in this period—like Harrell, a solid effort, but not even close to Murray. 

For voter contact, McGinn rolled out a pretty strong 60-second closing spot—the kind of direct-to-camera spot that we usually see late in the game. That said, his last expenditure report shows a lot of mail postage, but no additional TV buys, so it may not be widely seen.  

Speaking of mail, many voters have reported receiving four mail pieces from McGinn as well, which seems to be the most for the candidates.

McGinn's field effort seems to be outpacing other campaigns, like his formidable field effort in 2009.

In addition to the $50,000 pro-McGinn Unite HERE (hotel workers' union) independent expenditure, the United Food and Commercial Workers and a few other unions have put together what looks like about a $30,000 radio and online ad buy in the final days of the campaign. Like Murray’s IE, I would expect the quality to not be up to what the campaigns do themselves.

(Presumably, the unions support the position McGinn took on the Whole Foods project in West Seattle.) 

So is the mayor getting through the primary? Probably, but not definitely. What must keep the McGinnites up at night is a vote split that looks like Murray 33 percent, Harrell 22 percent, McGinn 21 percent, Steinbrueck 20 percent, and Other at 4 percent. Fascinating and terrifying if you are Team McGinn. 

McGinn gets a B+ for the week. His fundraising could be stronger, but it’s enough, and he had a good closing ad. With the tightening up of the race, his primary odds drop to 4:1.

Peter Steinbrueck Grade B-/Primary Odds 7:1

Steinbrueck brought in $24,000 (pretty good!) in this period, which continues his seesaw fundraising totals. 

His expenditure reports seem to be showing that he did two mail pieces to voters and no television or other electronic media. He did spend over $750 buying a newspaper ad in the Seattle Medium.  Reports of any field campaign still seem pretty sparse compared to the other camps. 

Can Steinbrueck get through the primary? Despite his strong name ID at the outset, his campaign has been eclipsed by the others in terms of paid media. The likely scenario for Steinbrueck would require a really strong showing by Murray and a slipping of McGinn support and a Harrell stallout.  It would look something like: Murray 40 percent, Steinbrueck 25 percent, McGinn 20 percent, Harrell 12 percent, and Other 3 pecent.  Far from impossible, but there isn't much data to support this happening either.

Steinbrueck gets a B- for the week. Good fundraising, but not much in the way of a final push for voter contact.


What a primary race! It really seems like a fight for second with McGinn, Steinbrueck, and Harrell hoping to edge each other out.  With a race this close, it will come down to the field efforts to get out all their supporters which usually translates into a 1-2 percent bump for any candidate. That tends to lead to a possible McGinn second place showing, but anything can happened between now and 8 PM on Tuesday. 

Mail in or drop off your ballot today! 


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