Mayor-apparent Ed Murray, who is beating incumbent Mike McGinn by a likely insurmountable 56.1 to 43.1 last night, held a press briefing today to talk about the next steps he plans to take into the often treacherous world of city politics, even as McGinn continued to hold off on conceding this afternoon. (The latest count late this afternoon, which included about 17,000 new votes, had still had Murray way ahead at 55.6 to 43.6 and McGinn's campaign says they'll hold a press conference tomorrow morning.)
McGinn, who is not doing any interviews today, said he wants supporters to have the hope that he may still win, although he would have to get 54 percent of the remaining ballots to erase Murray's commanding lead.
At the press conference outside an event for the homeless youth group ROOTS at Plymouth Congregational Church downtown—where a scrum of reporters crowded close to hear Murray's un-amplified voice—Murray didn't explicitly declare victory, although he did talk about "my administration"—an indication of how insurmountable his lead is over McGinn.
And while McGinn was holding on, one of McGinn's two security guards, standing watch over Murray's press conference today, has already been assigned to guard Murray during the two months until his inauguration in January.
Asked about his transition plans, Murray said he hopes to enlist the help of his ex-boss, former city council member Martha Choe, and that he has "made no selections for my administration" so far.
"In the beginning of the McGinn administration, there was a pretty harsh criticism of public employees, particularly a certain class of public employees"—a reference to McGinn's pledge to fire 200 city workers classified as strategic advisors during the first days of his administration. "I want to send a message that public service is valued."
Murray also denied persistent rumors that he plans to hire Seattle City Council member and former mayoral candidate Tim Burgess for a high-level position in his adminstration, possibly chief of staff, saying that Burgess is intent on becoming council president, not serving in the Murray Administration (a claim Burgess himself confirmed).
And he said he hadn't made any decisions yet about which city department heads he planned to keep and which ones he would axe.
Our list of those who could be on the chopping block (or, in some cases, taking early retirement), however, includes: Department of Planning and Development director Diane Sugimura, Seattle Department of Transportation director Peter Hahn, police chief Jim Pugel, fire chief Gregory Dean, Human Service Department director Katherine Lester, budget director Beth Goldberg, and Office of Housing director Rick Hooper.