Post-Race Beers

Most of the losers from last Tuesday's primary election went quietly underground for a few days. But the vast majority of the politicians drinking beer and munching on banh mi across from Northgate Mall in a plaza at Thornton Place last Thursday night were winners. Mayoral hopeful Mike McGinn chatted up potential supporters, along with fellow tunnel-hater Mike O'Brien, whose general-election opponent for Richard McIver's city council seat, Robert Rosencrantz, got behind the keg and started pulling pints--which never hurts one's electoral chances.The gathering was hosted by Seattle Politicos, a collection of online "friends" consisting of reporters, candidates, consultants, campaign volunteers, and enthusiastic participants in democracy. Vulcan lobbyist Dan McGrady created the group, which now assembles semi-regularly for drinks, elbow-rubbing, and occasionally awkward encounters between competitors. To wit, City Attorney hopeful Pete Holmes and incumbent Tom Carr both showed up, although Holmes only stuck around for a few minutes before heading off to a meeting of the 46th District Democrats to hunt for votes.But the hot topic of the night was the incumbent-free mayoral race between McGinn and Joe Mallahan, who failed to appear. McGinn suspects it will come down to their position on the tunnel—Mallahan backs it, McGinn will try to stop it. Because of his support for public transit and former role with the Sierra Club, McGinn thinks he'll have environmentalists firmly in his corner. The bigger question is the unions; labor has supported the tunnel project, but also launched its own attack on Mallahan in the days before last Tuesday's primary. (State Senator Ed Murray confirmed a rumor earlier this week that union representatives had approached him about launching a write-in campaign for mayor. King County Elections spokesperson Kim van Ekstrom says she can't remember any major mayoral elections being won that way in recent memory, but in 1994, Linda Smith, R-Vancouver, launched a successful write-in campaign to become the Republican nominee for Washington's 3rd Congressional District and went on to unseat incumbent Jolene Unsoeld.)Former city councilmember Peter Steinbrueck, who left for a one-year fellowship at Harvard on Monday, was in attendance at the Thursday gathering. Once considered the top potential rival to Mayor Nickels, Steinbrueck says he has no intention of bowing out of the political circus here: He'll make an endorsement after he's had a chance to talk to both candidates (though he did put in an appearance at Mallahan's election-night party).The only person to have a bad Tuesday and still show up for beers was mayoral candidate Norman Sigler, wearing a nametag on which he'd written the numerals 2013. "I've got four years," said Sigler, a political novice who drew about one percent of the vote in the eight-way primary.Sigler isn't officially announcing who he'll support for mayor. But he did observe that it's only appropriate Nickels should be ousted in the primary after doing the same thing to Paul Schell eight years ago. "It's poetic," he said.

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