News (USA)

Gay lawmaker who led marriage equality effort leads in Seattle mayoral primary

Gay lawmaker who led marriage equality effort leads in Seattle mayoral primary

SEATTLE — A state senator who drove efforts to make gay marriage legal in Washington state led early returns in Seattle’s mayoral primary, while incumbent Mike McGinn looked as if he’d avoid being the second consecutive mayor ousted before the general election.

Ed Murray had 30 percent of the vote in partial results released Tuesday night. McGinn had 27 percent.

“One thing is clear,” Murray told supporters at a campaign party. “The people of Seattle want new leadership.”

Bettina Hansen, The Seattle Times/AP,br>Mayoral candidate Ed Murray and his partner Michael Shiosaki wave after his victory speech at his campaign reception at The Crocodile in Belltown, Seattle after hearing results of the mayoral primary Tuesday Aug. 6, 2013.

Murray and McGinn were significantly ahead of two other major candidates. Former City Councilman Peter Steinbrueck was at 16 percent and City Councilman Bruce Harrell had 15 percent.

Mail-in ballots only have to be postmarked by the date of the election, so officials still have tens of thousands of votes to count in the coming days. The top two primary finishers advance to the November election.

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McGinn’s opponents say his governing style is divisive and he has alienated business groups and the state Legislature. McGinn, an attorney and former Sierra Club leader, points to the city’s improving economy, increased spending on education programs and his support for more transit options.

Murray, said he’ll take a more collaborative approach to dealing with transportation and public safety issues. He said he has had success building coalitions in a partisan environment in Olympia on issues like transportation and contrasted that with McGinn’s failure to persuade voters to reject the tunnel replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

“I think it’s about the ability to work with people up front,” Murray said.

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