In the end, Mike McGinn, it would appear from the drubbing he took this night, rubbed Seattle’s sensibilities the wrong way. He didn’t lose to Ed Murray because the 18-year lawmaker was more liberal, more progressive, or more visionary. He was soundly defeated because for whatever multitude of reasons, voters decided they just didn’t like him, at least not enough to give him another four years.
The mayor never recovered from his early stumbles that put him in a penalty box he couldn’t escape.
As a result, Ed Murray, the man who promised consensus over conflict, short passes over long bombs, unity over “divisiveness” – as was his mantra from the outset -- has become Seattle’s 53rd mayor.
As pounding club music played, a victorious Murray spoke in front of a packed room at Neumos on Capitol Hill. Invoking Abe Lincoln’s famous entreaty to the Southern rebels, Murray, referring to the McGinn camp, said, “We’re not enemies, we’re friends.”
As he did throughout the long campaign that began last December, the 58-year-old Murray promised a new age of cooperation.
“City government can be impressive. City government can be pragmatic. City government can get results. Seattle can show the nation, government can work again.” said the Kennedy Democrat who grew up in working class family in Lacey.
This was a devastating loss for McGinn. In no way did he expect to lose by this lopsided margin, as he truly thought his campaign had picked up huge momentum in recent days and was going to at least make it close at the finish line.
When it became conclusive that he’d go down in a landslide, a shaken McGinn appeared in front of subdued supporters at 95 Slide, a Capitol Hill sports bar. As the crowd weakly chanted “Four more years,” the vanquished mayor climbed to the podium. He looked drained, exhausted. He’d spent the entire day campaigning, even calling undecided voters right up until 7 p.m.
McGinn told supporters he thought he should call Murray to congratulate him. And when the crowd collectively jeered, McGinn said he’d wait a bit longer.
Still, he went on the deliver his concession speech. “You all had my back and I’m proud of you,” he said. “You know my Sierra Club background left me with the knowledge that you leave a place better than when you found it.”
McGinn clearly feels that he did do a good job and that the city is heading in the right direction now, thanks in part to his stewardship.
“I’ve been the happiest man doing this job,” he said.