Tim Burgess Mug New.jpg
Tim Burgess; *Seattle City Hall Photo credit: juggernautco
With Seattle City councilman Tim Burgess making his long expected 2013 mayoral bid official on Tuesday ,


Handicapping Seattle's 2013 Mayoral Race

Tim Burgess Mug New.jpg
Tim Burgess; *Seattle City Hall Photo credit: juggernautco
With Seattle City councilman Tim Burgess making his long expected 2013 mayoral bid official on Tuesday, things feel like they're heating up in the upcoming race for Seattle's top political spot. Sure, the election may be months and months away, but that hasn't stopped speculation that just about everyone and their brother may throw their hat into the ring - from former Bellevue and Bremerton mayor Cary Bozeman, to state Sen. Ed Murray, to constantly rumored candidate Peter Steinbrueck. That's what happens when the incumbent is widely considered about as strong as wet newspaper.

*See Also: Sun Finally Sets On Anti-Tax Messiah Grover Norquist; Is Tim Eyman Worried?

So who will be Seattle's next mayor? While the Seattle Times published a list of possible contenders over the weekend, it wasn't nearly funny enough for our liking.

So, with the help of Ellis Conklin, The Daily Weekly has produced this (moderately) comprehensive look at Seattle's potential mayoral candidates, handicapping the race that will have the city talking and speculating for the next year.

Incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn

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Mike McGinn likes bikes and streetcars and beards. Trouble is, after the many hiccups of his first term - from the Highway 99 tunnel debacle, to his failed attempt to keep bars open late, to his heavily criticized stances in negotiations with the DOJ over SPD reform and in selecting a federal monitor - it's questionable how many people in Seattle like McGinn at this point. Sure, pushing through Chris Hansen's arena deal probably helped McGinn's prospects, but it seems unlikely that the Sodo arena alone will be enough to save him, or even dissuade possible challengers who sense blood in the water. Complicating matters, McGinn has reportedly only raised $17 and three bottles of kombucha for his reelection efforts, so it'll be tough sledding for Seattle's thoughtful yet ridiculed incumbent.

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Tim Burgess

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He's a former cop. Businesses like him. He's challenged McGinn on a number of issues over the last few years, perhaps most notably the selection of a DOJ monitor for SPD reforms, and has come out looking far stronger in the eyes of many. Sure, he's got a conservative streak that may rankle the feathers of Seattle granola types, but after the mess the liberal McGinn has created for himself, that may not do as much damage to Burgess' candidacy as it would have in some years. Plus, as Dominic Holden points out, dude looks like a bald eagle - which can only help.

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Carey Bozeman

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A three-term mayor of Bellevue, and two-termer in Bremerton, Carey Bozeman may go for the hat trick. He'll be 71 next month, he's still got the itch -- and god knows, he's got more experience in the executive branch than any of the possible contenders mulling over a Seattle mayoral bid. What Bozeman brings to the table is fearless candor. A few years ago, as Bremerton's Mayor, he called Seattle's downtown waterfront "an insult to American ingenuity," and blamed it on a lack of vision and leadership. He also suggested planting trees along Aurora Avenue "to block off the visual garbage." That's what we need in a mayor - someone who will let us know that we aren't as precious as we think we are. - Ellis Conklin

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Bruce Harrell

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Current Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell has hatched some of the better, more progressive ideas to come out of the governing body in recent memory, most notably his proposal to limit businesses' ability to peruse an applicant's criminal history during the hiring process - arguing (with plenty of hard evidence on his side) that ex-cons have difficulty finding work after incarceration, and this dilemma often leads them straight back to criminal endeavors. Unlike Burgess, Harrell does not resemble a bald eagle - but he is the only minority currently sitting on the City Council, and as the Times notes, he "enjoys strong support among the city's ethnic groups and social-justice advocates."

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Peter Steinbrueck

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You know how every year the San Diego Chargers are the preseason favorite to go the Super Bowl? Well, in Seattle, seems every time a mayoral election rolls around, Peter Steinbrueck invariably is added to the list of potential contenders. That's because the name is still golden -- the son of the noted architect who years ago fought off developers to save the Pike Place Market. If Steinbrueck runs, the former council member could be a strong player, offering a boatload of appeal to green-leaning residents opposed to a new sports palace in Sodo and skyscrapers towering over South Lake Union. - Ellis Conklin

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Ed Murray

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As Murray told PubliCola's Josh Feit, if he's going to enter the race for mayor, he has to be sure he'll love the job. And, quite honestly, there's a lot about the mayor job not to love. Just ask McGinn. Plus, Murray's already got a pretty good thing going as the newly appointed senate majority leader. But as the man who played a large role in orchestrating the ballot-box victory of R74, Murray is currently basking in the glow as a civil rights hero, and could no doubt attract significant support in Seattle if he does decide to enter the mayoral fracas. And rightfully so.

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Charlie Staadecker

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Seeking a mayor who looks good in a bow tie? We certainly are, and that's why Charlie Staadecker deserves our attention. And if the sharp neckwear isn't enough to sway you, do note that he is very nice guy - and wouldn't that be nice for a change? A fourth-generation Seattleite, Staadecker is a commercial real-estate broker and big-time arts patron - he once commissioned a play at ACT as a birthday present to his wife -- but he doesn't a have a lick of experience in Seattle government - and really, who the hell knows him? Still, we were impressed by his announcement speech that he gave at Franklin High School (his alma mater) in September, in which he actually quoted Charles Darwin, on how only those that adapt to change can survive. Go, Charlie, go! - Ellis Conklin

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Ron Sims

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Ron Sims is a heavyweight, and if he decides to enter the race, he'll have to be considered as one of a very short list of frontrunners. He's surely the best speech-maker of the bunch of mayoral wannabees. The former King County executive, who ran some damn respectable campaigns for the U.S. Senate in 1994 and governor in 2004, is a dynamic force on the trail. And he's well rested, having returned to Seattle more than a year ago after a stint as HUD's No. 2 official. Indeed, the resume is impressive, but if voters are looking for a fresh face, Sims may be yesterday's man, whose time in the political arena has come and gone. - Ellis Conklin

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Bill Bryant

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Bill Bryant is a Port of Seattle Commissioner who loves to hike and bike, which is a good thing to be in hike-and-bike-loving Seattle. But Bryant's got one little problem: He's a Republican, for criminy's sake! He even thought about challenging Rob McKenna for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Do you know how long its been since we had a Republican mayor in this Democratopolis? Forty-three years long, that's how long. Take note, Trivial Pursuit enthusiasts, the last Republican to take the mayoral helm was was James d'Orma "Dorm" Braman, a high school dropout who served our fine city from 1964 to 1969. Can Bryant buck such a historical trend? Not likely. - Ellis Conklin

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Sally Clark

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Sure, sure, Seattle City Council President Sally Clark has said she likes her current gig and doesn't plan to run for mayor. But we all know politicians can change their minds on such things, especially if they perceive the field of contenders to be weak or sense an opening. Given the fact the list of names (both rumored and confirmed) currently attached to the 2013 mayoral race doesn't include a woman, and all parties involved seem to agree that there is, indeed, an opening for someone in the coming election -- given McGinn's unpopularity -- it seems premature to say Clark might not have a change of heart before official filing week. Plus, Seattle hasn't had a female mayor since Bertha Knight Landes temporarily broke that glass ceiling back in the 1920s, and has never had an openly gay mayor -- two things a Clark candidacy could rectify.

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