By Shaun Knittel
Best Gay Seattle Editor
When Washington state Sen. Ed Murray picked up a national endorsement February 28 in his campaign for Seattle mayor everyone was impressed.
Then Murray, the state’s leading openly gay politician, raised $103,693 in early May before a state imposed freeze on campaign fundraising took effect May 13 . With his latest haul, Murray has taken in more than $221,000 in the campaign, and money totals for early May fund raising have boosted him significantly above the $55,302 in the bank as of the end of April.
Under state law, legislators can’t raise campaign cash while they are sitting in session.
Five other candidates for mayor, including incumbent Mike McGinn, have continued putting together their war chests while Murray has been in Olympia fighting a coalition of 23 Republicans and two conservative Democrats who seized control of the state Senate.
On May 21, the 43rd District Democrats awarded their sole endorsement in the Seattle mayor’s race to Sen. Murray, who has represented the 43rd District in the legislature for 18 years.
Murray took 65 percent of the vote.
Mayor Mike McGinn, former city council member Peter Steinbrueck, Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell, neighborhood activist Kate Martin, and, Charlie Staadecker followed Murray, respectively.
The endorsements and money raised by Murray’s campaign represent a solid momentum for the popular state politician who is credited for championing LGBT rights in Olympia for nearly two decades.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) broke with its tradition of not getting involved in local races because of Murray’s “exceptional leadership on civil rights.”
His campaign said that knowing it has the support of an organization with 65,000 members in the state means it will have plenty of volunteers when he does actively enter the race.
“They’re big. They have tens of thousands of members in the Seattle area. Their support and enthusiasm is going to power this campaign,” said Sandeep Kaushik, Murray’s campaign consultant.
The Human Rights Campaign said Murray, during his more than 15 years in public office, had successfully built “bi-partisan support for Washington State’s historic marriage equality legislation.”
The only other local candidate to win the HRC endorsement this year is Christine Quinn, the New York City Council Speaker, who is considered a frontrunner to succeed Michael Bloomberg as Mayor of New York.