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Congratulations to Ed Murray, Mike O’Brien and other election winners

Results as of Tuesday evening
Results as of Tuesday evening

Ed Murray has been elected as the next Mayor of Seattle.

We look forward to covering transportation issues under his leadership. He has campaigned on the claim that he can forge the partnerships needed to get things done, including safe streets. Now we’ll get a chance to see if he was right.

Seattle Bike Blog endorsed incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn in this election, and we have been rather critical of a series of safe streets missteps Murray and his campaign made in the run up to the election.

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In the end, we were wowed by McGinn’s excellent knowledge of transportation issues and his bold efforts to improve the state of transit, walking and biking in the city. He was even willing to spend some political capital to do it. This earned our endorsement. And honestly, there was little any challenger could have done to pry it from him. McGinn has been a great mayor.

But Murray has shown that he is not the kind of stubborn politician who will double-down on a mistake. When he was called out after making statements against completing the Burke-Gilman Missing Link in Ballard or making statements against the NE 75th Street road diet, Murray reassessed the issues and changed his mind about them. Some people don’t like that in a politician, but I don’t see it as necessarily a bad thing. Stand firm on convictions, but not on every erroneous or mistaken remark.

We hope he retains and/or hires forward-thinking transportation staff to help advise him on the issues and lead the city’s investments in bold cycling infrastructure and safe streets.

Mike O’Brien wins big

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 10.08.14 PMMike O’Brien won big over well-funded challenger Albert Shen. We endorsed O’Brien emphatically because he is great on the council and a steadfast supporter of safe streets and city cycling.

Unlike Murray, Shen has been an outspoken opponent of bike infrastructure in the city, even calling bike lanes an attack on working families. Yikes.

It’s great that the Seattle electorate, which is typically more conservative in an off-year like this, still saw right through that nonsense. We look forward to another O’Brien term.

All other SBB-endorsed candidates also won their seats, though none of the races were hotly contested. Neighborhood Greenways booster Sally Bagshaw and Nick Licata both skated through their races with over 80 percent of the vote as of election evening. Dow Constantine cleaned up the County Executive spot with a record-breaking 78 percent of the vote.

We did not endorse in the Conlin-Sawant race, but Conlin is looking very strong with a 54-46 lead. I’m no statistician, but that looks like a hard gap to close (Sawant did not concede as of election eve).

For more Seattle election coverage, turn to the most trusted name in Capitol Hill election party coverage: Capitol Hill Seattle.

Cascade Bicycle Club says at least 38 of their endorsed candidates around the region were elected Tuesday, noting that a majority of the Bellevue City Council is now in favor of investments in biking, walking and transit.

“Tonight was a real victory for bicycling,” said Elizabeth Kiker, Executive Director of Cascade.

NOTE: I’m in Canada at the moment, so a little out of touch until later today. Any other races in the area that you think went well/poorly for people on bikes? Let us know in the comments below.

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25 responses to “Congratulations to Ed Murray, Mike O’Brien and other election winners”

  1. […] Seattle Bike Blog endorsed McGinn for reelection, as did the Cascade Bicycle Club. Seattle Transit Blog called his land use and transit policies “simply unassailable.” […]

  2. Doug Bostrom

    I’m sad about McGinn, a true expert on Seattle but apparently without the skills to inspire continued voter confidence.

    Anyway, leaving aside the rancor of the final days of the election we’re generally blessed with riches when it comes to candidates here. It’s by no means a dark day.

    1. Leif Espelund

      Yeah, I feel lucky to live somewhere that I get to choose between too very progressive candidates. Here’s hoping Murray lives up to his word and can get some good things done, even if his vision isn’t quite as geared towards biking as I’d like. Hoping he pushes hard for transit, which goes hand in hand with biking anyway.

  3. Matt

    I can’t help but be upset about the election results and incredibly nervous about whats to come. I still can’t grasp the hatred this city has towards McGinn (I have spent too much time reading the Seattle Times). Moving here from Chicago/Philly/NYC where it takes an actual scandal or poor economic results to vote out an incumbent, Seattle seems to just be booming. I’m not sure if people are overly sensitive here or just don’t realize how good they have it. I’ve come to the conclusion though that the overall majority of Seattleites are people like myself. Moved here in the past few years from much bigger cities and are very unaware of what is at stake in the local elections. Unlike my former cities, where the transit systems have been defined for years and arguably very few major projects are occurring the local politics seemed unimportant compared to the National Elections. Seattle is such a new city in comparison with so many significant transportation projects occurring, the entire city could change forever because of one mayor.

    My one hope is that Murray continues to fund biking and street cars/light rail like McGinn did but does not have to put up with the criticism from the Seattle Times and old farts that voted for him. If not, I’m definitely leaving this city.

    1. Sea

      Plus you have the issue of many people moving here from very conservative parts of the country who are naturally going to vote for the more conservative candidates. Sad but it’s the course this city is taking.

      1. Is there some evidence that conservatives are being lured to Seattle when the left runs the city more every year? It would be more credible to claim that Murray’s election was due to Dem “machine” politics. I REALLY miss Tim Hill – as in the Republican that led opposition to the West Seattle Freeway. Before long, I think we will be missing McGinn…

      2. Tom Fucoloro

        FWIW, I moved here from Missouri, and I write the bike blog :-)

      3. Matt

        I can’t say I agree with you. Although I have met a ton of Texans that have relocated here, they all know what they are getting into when they move here. Outside of here, Seattle is synonymous with liberal and progressive ideology. I think if anything the people moving here from more conservative parts of the country are just apathetic and uninterested in alternative transit/biking infrastructure projects.

      4. Richard

        I just moved here from a very conservative part of the country (Arkansas), and voted McGinn and Sawant.

        I’d have thought moving here from more conservative parts would often be an indication that one is very liberal, though maybe I’m atypical.

      5. Matt

        I agree, Richard. I think someone moving here from a conservative area either come because of the liberal ideology or are just apathetic. I think the number of conservatives moving here expecting Seattle to be exactly like home are very much in the minority.

      6. Sea

        You’re also commenting on the seattle bike blog and are probably not very representative of the average transplant. My experience is those from east of the mountains (and south of the Russian river) are constantly griping about lack of parking, lack of expansive roads with high speed limits, lack of shopping malls, etc. And they vote accordingly.

    2. Charles B

      The Mercer Island times will start hating on Murray the moment he is inaugurated.

    3. Kimberly Kinchen

      I lived in or near Seattle for more than a decade, and have lived in NYC for a decade, and I confess that I think a lot of it is that that Seattle folks do not know how good they have it. I don’t regret leaving — NYC has been a great place to live and might actually still be affordable away from the Manhattan core for maybe another decade for middle class folks — but in terms of overall quality of life and the cost of living, Seattle has it very, very good and some of the crazy things like the deep bore tunnel notwithstanding, seems to be headed in the right direction transportation and land use wise. And other ways.

  4. Sadly, many voted against McGinn based only on his pro-bike politics.

    The first comment I read on KOMO’s website regarding the mayoral race was this one:

    “I don’t really care much for either McGinn or Murray but I voted for Murray just to get back at McGinn for the bike lanes. Seriously. That was the ONLY reason.”

    Ugh. We have a long way to go.

    1. Matt

      I’ve come to the conclusion that the people that won’t stop complaining about the bike lanes are incredibly miserable people in life. They are probably overweight and commuting hours a day from north of Everett to a job in SODO while listening to Rush Limbaugh. You need to be incredibly disillusioned to be sitting in traffic on I-5 and somehow think that the person riding a bike on some side street is the cause of your traffic woes. I am always amazed at the sheer number of anti-bike comments I see in articles from Vancouver (BC), Portland, NYC,Chicago, and other big biking cities. It’s not just in Seattle but readying the Seattle Times comment section is just plain hurtful.

      1. Doug Bostrom

        It’s probably too easy to overestimate the number of people who are obsessed with the dire threat of bicycles. Comments on Seattle Times are not a good place to take the pulse of public opinion.

    2. Ben Morris

      I thank Mike McGinn every time I come across a car while riding along Linden Ave N. Granted, the cars ‘don’t actually stop’ at the new stop-signs, but at least they now slow down from 30+ MPH. ‘They kinda think about stopping’
      Although, I know he’s not solely responsible for the Linden Ave N cycle track and all the new stop-signs and speed-bumps along Linden – there’s a lot of folks and coalitions to thank as well (and Tom!), but still…
      Thanks again, Mike! You’ve prevented injuries and potentially saved lives along that heavily bike-traveled route!

  5. O

    I’m just glad we got 4 years of Mcginn, so we at least have a small network of Greenways and Cycletracks, as well as plain-ol’ bike lanes.

  6. Doug Bostrom

    ST headline:

    Victorious Murray: ‘Government can work once again’

    Would somebody please pass the man a memo informing him that the campaign is over?

  7. Ben Morris

    Victorious Murray: ‘Government can work once again’- for the Downtown Seattle Association, Comcast, other Mega-Corporations and the rich…

  8. no traffic lights

    Overall, people decided not to vote, but I’d be interested to see votes by neighborhood. I’m guessing his Fremont / Ballard base didn’t turn out for him. We’re going to miss Mike McGinn. He was the perfect Mayor for this town at this particular time. I like him on a personal level too, he’s a good shit.

  9. stardent

    I voted against McGinn. The painted bicycle paths right in between parked cars and car traffic, and the confusing sharrows where the cars try to muscle you out are a bad temporary fix and do nothing for me.

  10. LindaG

    Really? Elizabeth Kiker thinks this night was “a real victory for bicycling”?

    In what way?

    That’s ridiculous.

    McGinn was a huge champion for bicycling, totally connected in the public’s mind with bicycling, and he lost. Media — for what it’s worth — are in part connecting the loss with his pro-biking stances. That’s the story the pundits are running with, like it or not. Politicians are going to avoid being seen as too pro-bike, in part because of tonight’s results. While I think that’s the wrong lesson, it’s a lesson they’ll be learning.

    Listen, celebrate your victories (mainly in non-competitive races), and be gracious in losing — but don’t put lipstick on a pig and call it Matt Damon. It just further destroys your credibility.

  11. Eric

    One thing to keep in mind is that almost all bike infrastructure built in the last 4 years has very little to do with McGinn. The council gets funds approved for activities like greenways or bridging the gap or safe routes to school, then SDOT develops metrics and runs the process from there. Since the council isn’t changing, I don’t expect policies to change much beyond what was already happening, which is more emphasis on greenways.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      The mayor leads SDOT and proposes the budget, so it’s not fair to say McGinn had little to do with the bike infrastructure. A mayor can tell SDOT to stop doing a project, and he can direct the starting point for budget discussions (though, yes, Council has the final say).

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