The Stranger publishes a very nice article, the first in a series, arguing for Mike McGinn ’82 in the Seattle mayoral race:


On primary night, in a close race where he was considered vastly outmatched by the other candidates—the two front- runners had been running television ads for weeks, whereas McGinn hadn’t run a single one—McGinn won. Joe Mallahan, the T-Mobile executive with personal wealth and lots of wealthy contributors, came in second. Greg Nickels, the incumbent, who’d been in contests like this many times before, came in third. Which means he’s now out of the picture.

That makes the race for mayor a contest without an incumbent, a face-off between two untested men, a choice that is, either way, a gamble.

But it’s also a choice between stark stylistic differences. Mallahan’s main political accomplishment thus far has been to figure out how much it costs to buy one’s way into a Seattle mayoral race. (Over $230,000 of his own money and counting.) He wears suits, employs tested political hands, brags about having the support of the city’s “insiders.” Then there’s McGinn, who is no neophyte—he’s been a lawyer, a neighborhood activist, and president of the local Sierra Club—but has shrewdly embraced the chance to run as an outsider, as the leader of an insurgent campaign. He says “grassroots” whenever possible. He refuses to have an official spokesperson (he does the speaking or simply allows the conduct of the campaign to speak for itself). And as he bikes around town in shirt and jeans, he smiles through an only somewhat trimmed, I-don’t-give-a-fuck, logger-chic beard[…]

[McGinn] offers idea after new idea (a plan for a new light-rail line along the west side of Seattle, a plan for dealing with gang violence, a plan for fixing the crumbling South Park bridge). He has a core conviction—that digging a new tunnel through downtown Seattle is a costly mistake that doesn’t fit with the character or future of this city—and even as events seem to be making it harder and harder for him to turn his conviction into action (the city council is expected to sign an agreement later this month with the state on funding for the tunnel), his willingness to stand up and call it a mistake is energizing to a significant portion of his base.

Mallahan, by contrast, is running a cookie-cutter campaign designed not to ruffle or offend. He’s selling himself as more of the same at a time when Seattle wants change.

Continue reading here.

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