Immediately after the results came in last night at state Sen. Ed Murray's campaign party at the Crocodile club in Belltown, Murray supporter City Attorney Pete Holmes got a text message from his (auto-corrected?) wife: "The ducker made it through."
Holmes' wife was referring to incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn who was supposed to be fighting to get out of third place. It wasn't just the McGinn camp that had been purposefully downplaying expectations in the runup to election night, candidly telling the press that their guy seemed to be in trouble, but McGinn's opponents were stuck on the same narrative, predicting that McGinn would stay locked in the same place he'd been all along, at around 20 percent, with Murray in the high 20s and Peter Steinbrueck battling McGinn to make it through.
However, the numbers told a different story. McGinn was comfortably in second at 27.15 (Peter Steinbrueck was in a distant third at 16.26).
Holmes' wife text came with a follow-up line: "Ed will crush him." Murray did hit 30 percent (30.24) and the new spin from his camp certainly echoed her text: 73 percent of voters, they pointed out, had voted against the incumbent mayor.
Meanwhile, the McGinn spin against Murray is that Murray's the establishment candidate (kind of a funny rap in a city like Seattle where "establishment" leaders such as Murray fan Holmes, for example, led on the fight to legalize pot).
However, Murray has been endorsed by the Seattle chamber of commerce which has also contributed $52,000 to a Murray independent expenditure campaign. Last night, Fizz asked Murray about the "establishment" tag.
"I think it's hysterically funny," Murray said noting his support from environmentalists (he's been endorsed by the Washington Conservation Voters, the largest green group in the state) and labor. "I have a 94 percent lifetime voting record from labor," he said. Murray also saw the framing as evidence of McGinn's divisiveness (his tag on the mayor). "That is the difference between my opponent and me," he said. "His approach is to label me as the business guy. I'm happy to have business and labor support."
Murray also scoffed at McGinn's complaint that the race to date had been about "style" rather than substance.
"This kooky word he keeps talking about ... 'style.' This campaign isn't about style, it's about governance and leadership. And we're going to talk about what this mayor has accomplished and hasn't accomplished." (Earlier, during his victory speech, Murray slammed McGinn for a billion dollar road maintenance backlog.)
As for Steinbrueck, he wasn't ready to call it quits last night. "Don't think for a second that it's over now," he told supporters during his speech at China Harbor restaurant on Westlake. "We have a lot of uncounted ballots." He added, "83 percent of our [financial] supporters are from within the city," which he cited as a testament to his grassroots-type campaign.
Afterwards, he told Fizz: "For me, [the results] are still up in the air. I took on [three] incumbents in office...and I think I've done a pretty good job so far. There are still a lot of votes to be counted."
(UPDATE: Steinbrueck conceded this morning. )
About 60 percent of the expected votes were counted last night (about 93,000 out of an anticipated 145,000). But conventional wisdom says the later votes (likely younger voters) break for McGinn, which means "the ducker" didn't only make it through—as opposed to clawing for second, he could be clawing at Murray for first.
"You know where I stand," he told a packed room of young voters and transit and bike activists at 95 Slide, a sports bar on Capitol Hill last night (the site of his '09 victory night party)."We’re going to run a hell of a race," he said after referencing the issue that powered his campaign in days leading up to primary day, living wage jobs.
"Hotel workers, we are thinking about you this election. The people who check out your groceries and stock your shelves, the people who’ve been left out. …You were all out there phone banking, you were all out there working the streets, you were all out there saying this election is about our future, this election is about the people who don't have a voice."
For a full list of results, including a stunning 33 percent showing from socialist Kashama Sawant in her race against longtime incumbent Richard Conlin, who didn't even crack 50, and more coverage from last night, go here.