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Wash. State Gay Sen. Leads in Fundraising for Seattle Mayor

by Shaun Knittel
Contributor
Monday Dec 31, 2012
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Washington State Senator Ed Murray (D-43) has jumped out to an early lead in fundraising. In the nine days before the prescribed deadline to suspend his fundraising efforts, Murray managed to bring in an impressive $122,776. Murray, an openly gay lawmaker and champion of the state’s marriage equality law, announced his intention to get elected Seattle mayor on Dec. 5.

"The overwhelming surge of support over the last few days from across Seattle has exceeded even my wildest expectations, and proves that the people of this city want a mayor who has a track record of experienced leadership and who knows how to unite this diverse city behind a common vision," Murray said in a statement.

Murray thanked the hundreds of people "who have already stepped forward to back this campaign with their generous contributions."

"I am both grateful and humbled by the vote of confidence they have placed in me," he added.

Contributions reportedly came in from all over the greater Seattle area, not just Murray’s base in the 43rd Legislative District and the LGBT community. As a sitting senator, Murray may not raise money while the state legislature is in session.

"The overwhelming surge of support over the last few days from across Seattle has exceeded even my wildest expectations, and proves that the people of this city want a mayor who has a track record of experienced leadership."

According to a Dec. 17 announcement from Murray’s campaign, more than $107,000 of the total is new money donated by more than 480 supporters. An additional $15,643 came from previous contributions to Murray’s legislative campaign account, which has been transferred to his mayoral campaign with the permission of the donors.

After the transfers Murray’s legislative account still contains more than $30,000 that could potentially be transferred after the fundraising freeze is lifted at the close of the upcoming legislative session, which is slated to run through late April.

"Folks know the work Ed has done fighting for civil rights for all these years," said Murray campaign consultant Sandeep Kaushik.

Because while the legislature is in session Murray can’t raise additional money, the campaign will be lean, according Kaushik. The campaign will then ramp back up in the spring. For the time being, the goal of raising seed money to get the campaign off the ground has been reached.

"Now the infrastructure is there. We’re confident we can run a really strong grassroots campaign, one that can win votes one vote at a time," said Kaushik.

Murray now leads in what is being considered a "crowded field" of mayoral candidates. Incumbent Mike McGinn reported raising roughly $95,000 at the end of November, real-estate broker Charlie Staadecker reported $58,000, and City Council member Tim Burgess reported $26,000. Newly declared candidates Kate Martin and Peter Steinbrueck have not yet reported fundraising figures.

Shaun Knittel is an openly gay journalist and public affairs specialist living in Seattle. His work as a photographer, columnist, and reporter has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the Pacific Northwest. In addition to writing for EDGE, Knittel is the current Associate Editor for Seattle Gay News.

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