1. The first of three televised mayoral debates airs on KING 5 tonight at 7pm. Incumbent mayor Mike McGinn and challenger, state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill) will field questions from a trio of veteran local reporters: KING 5's Linda Brill, Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner, and KIRO Radio's Dave Ross. 

PubliCola's Erica C. Barnett will be in the house when they tape this afternoon live tweeting the action so you can get a sneak preview.

There are two more TV debates coming up: KOMO TV on October 15 and KCTS on October 22.

Last Friday, ElectionNerd flagged the upcoming debates as a potential stumbling block for both candidates. Murray isn't much of a dynamo on the stump, nor a concise speaker, and has been oddly subdued during the campaign—a mix that can leave voters underwhelmed. It's certainly an excellent opportunity for McGinn, a trial lawyer and master of the zinger, to show thousands of Seattle voters he's more mayoral than they think—and bounce back in the polls (he's currently way behind—52-30 and 52-28, according to recent public polling.)

But therein lies the danger of the debate for McGinn. When a candidate is behind like that, campaign strategy dictates that they go on the attack and tear down the other candidate's image. (The polling shows Murray with high favorables, a 57 percent approval rating, according to KING 5.) But the very reason voters don't like McGinn (49 percent disapproval rating to 30 percent approval) is because he can come across as a bully—and going on the attack only reinforces that negative image. It's a tricky campaign Catch-22.

Yet again, favoring North End residents over South End residents.

2. We don't get a lot of opportunities to write longer, investigative-style pieces on the blog, so check out Josh's two-part, 2,000-words (so far!) look at the city's recent bidding process for its new citywide towing contract—a curious process that ended up disqualifying the top-two bidders, awarding the contract to longtime local contractor Lincoln Towing, and, yet again, favoring North End residents over South End residents.

3. Back to the mayor's race: Stop the presses. They're both flaming liberals.

The AP has the news that Mayor McGinn now supports a $15 dollar minimum wage (or higher) at the city level, something he'd been hesitant about in the past, saying the policy was more appropriate for federal and state leaders to deal with.

Murray, who was also initially hesitant on the issue,  has proposed "incrementally" increasing the local minimum wage to $15.

Sage Wilson, a spokesman for Working Washington, part of the progressive coalition pushing the "living wage" idea, sent out a quick, ecstatic note this morning after the AP story on McGinn hit:

Four and a half months after Seattle fast food workers first struck, both candidates for mayor have now formally endorsed the idea of a $15 minimum wage.

And people say pickets & protests don't do anything.