UPDATE: Another day, another press conference for the Ed Murray for mayor of Seattle campaign. A day after trotting out Ron Sims, Murray added to his growing list of endorsements Friday by welcoming former mayoral candidate and current city council member Tim Burgess and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes to his Capitol Hill campaign office - each of whom said Murray would make a better mayor than Mike McGinn. Neither endorsement was particularly surprising. As you’ll recall, when Burgess bowed out of the mayor’s race in May he did so by saying, “It is critically important that we elect a new mayor.” He stuck with that theme Friday. Holmes, meanwhile, has sparred frequently with McGinn over the handling of police reform negotiations with the Department of Justice. No doubt, a relationship that was already strained became even more fractured today with Holmes throwing his weight behind Murray. Pramila Jayapal, the founder and former executive director of OneAmerica also endorsed Murray on Friday.
It what has to be the most significant endorsement to date in the mayoral contest, former King County Executive Ron Sims today offered his Good Housekeeping Stamp of Approval to the candidacy of state Sen. Ed Murray.
“Seattle has lost its flash,” said Sims. “There’s too much bickering ...You can’t be a successful mayor without forming strong coalitions, and Ed is someone who builds coalitions.”
Sims, who chose not to enter the race, despite encouraging polls back in March that showed him in front of all contenders (including Mayor Mike McGinn) save undecided voters, said he met with “other candidates – though he wouldn’t name them. But after a lengthy breakfast with Murray earlier this month, Sims said he came away convinced Murray was the best candidate in the field. (See our profile of Murray here: Ed Murray’s Move to Seattle)
Sims, a Baptist preacher who spent two years as undersecretary of the Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration, recounted at this mornings news conference at Murray headquarters on Capitol Hill that “it was unbelievably refreshing that race didn’t come up” in his meeting with Murray. To which Murray quipped, “I have a little experience with people who try to get my endorsement based on sexual orientation.”
Sims, who has lost two statewide races – to Slade Gorton for the U.S. Senate in 1994 and to ex-Gov. Chris Gregoire, who defeated him in the 2004 Democratic gubernatorial primary -- remains a popular and ebullient politician and a powerful public speaker.
King County’s executive for more than 13 years, Sims said he’s had his differences with the “strong-willed” state lawmaker through the years, but “we got to have mayor with fortitude and guts.”
Said Murray: “This is the most significant endorsement I will have in the campaign.” Later, referring to the March poll, he added, “He (Sims) could have been the person who would have been the leader in this campaign.”
Aside from Gregoire’s endorsement of Murray in May, Sims’ pledge of support is without question a major catch and perhaps the most valuable one of all. Though it’s too early to say how it may change the dynamic of the race, Sims gives Murray added legitimacy within the minority community, for which Council member Bruce Harrell has made the strongest inroads.
Sims, who will turn 65 next week, said he’s not “anti-McGinn,” though he made it clear that he believes the city has moved in the wrong direction with McGinn at the helm.