After a 72-hour blitzkrieg of highly-staged press events, all crafted to denounce Mayor Mike McGinn, it is hard to know if Ed Murray is simply trying to close the deal or whether he’s deeply worried that McGinn is closing fast.
Whatever the case, Murray has waged a withering assault on the mayor in recent days. Even the most casual observer of the race has to figure something’s up when Murray’s campaign operatives, led by War Room chief Sandeep Kaushik, out of the blue call a news conference at 5:30 on a Friday afternoon on Beacon Hill to “set the record straight about McGinn’s record of failure on broadband, and his desperate, deceptive efforts to rewrite history in the last days of this campaign.”
Today, the venue for Murray’s latest attack was Occidental Park in Pioneer Square. Flanked by his one-time “team of rivals,” as Murray cheerfully referred to his August primary opponents Peter Steinbrueck and Bruce Harrell, the state senator quickly got down to business: “We have a mayor who for almost four years has ignored the issue of public safety.”
On he went. “[McGinn’s] two years of fighting with the Department of Justice (over SPD accountability) has put us behind,” said Murray, standing near the Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Under McGinn, he added, we’ve had nothing but “chaos” surrounding the issue of public safety.
At times, though, Murray appeared hesitant, unsure of himself. He kept saying there is a perception of rising levels of crime in Seattle, particularly downtown. He also suggested crime, in reality, is spiking, but when challenged with media questions that crime is down across the board, Murray weakly replied, “Not all crimes are down.” He did not elaborate as to which ones he was alluding to.
Early in the campaign, Murray warned in an interview with Seattle Weekly that if the fall contest came down to him and McGinn, it would be “the ugliest campaign Seattle has ever seen,” clearly intimating that the mayor would make it so.
While Murray’s prediction has not been fully realized, one could speculate that Murray, a bird-watcher hobbyist, has seen some polling data that resulted in him adopting a much harsher tone, while campaigning in a more or less frantic mode. (Polls taken in early- and mid-October showed the lawmaker with leads as much as 22 points over the incumbent.)
Of equal concern, perhaps, to the Murray camp is that a lower than usual number of ballots have been returned to King County Elections and that late and undecided voters may be breaking hard for McGinn.
On Saturday, the day after the broadband bash, Ed Murray held a press conference with Planned Parenthood supporters. This was in response to the McGinn campaign’s request that Planned Parenthood, which endorsed Murray, also mention that McGinn is ardently pro-choice when they make calls on Murray’s behalf.
In fact, as Publicola reported, McGinn staffers “also listed the cell phone number of a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman on Facebook and encouraged McGinn supporters to call her to protest the group’s support for Murray” – to which Murray said, “The fact they went so far as to put staff members’ personal cell phone numbers on Facebook amounts to cyberbulling.”
But in the press release announcing the event, Sandeep Kaushik wrote that Murray planned to “respond to the ugly scorched earth tactics deployed by the McGinn campaign against Planned Parenthood and other groups because they dared to endorse Ed Murray.”
Ugly scorched earth tactics?
Does this sound like the words of a campaign up by double-digits?