Seattle mayor

Ed Murray

Gay-marriage hero with political savvy.
Big idea
Hire 100 new police officers.
$590,000 house on Capitol Hill.
Conventional wisdom
Establishment and big-money favorite.
Says time in Legislature shows his effectiveness. But have you watched the Legislature lately?
He married his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki, in August.
A dog, Rory, and a cat, Sammy.

On the issues

Light rail

Both candidates want to get light rail to Ballard, West Seattle and other neighborhoods as soon as possible. Both support the regional transit agency, Sound Transit, and want to ask voters region-wide to fund a light-rail expansion in 2016. To get the funding to speed up light-rail to the neighborhoods, Ed Murray wants to change the way Sound Transit’s money is divided, so that more dense places get a bigger share of the money.

Living wage

Murray supports the campaign for a $15-an-hour minimum wage in Seattle, but says he’d proceed cautiously by bringing business and labor together to discuss the idea. Murray loudly criticized McGinn for his move to block a West Seattle Whole Foods recently, even though Murray had earlier endorsed the idea of the city using its leverage in exactly that manner. Murray argues he’d only do that after a citywide policy discussion, instead of springing it on a single developer in an election year.

Paying for parks

Murray supports renewal of an expiring parks levy in 2014, and exploring other stable funding options such as a possible new taxing district. He opposes McGinn's idea to tax sugary drinks, noting that voters repealed a statewide soda tax he’d backed in 2010.


Murray is committed to reform of the Seattle Police Department under the oversight of the U.S. Justice Department, and says he would conduct a national search for a reform-minded police chief with a track record of leadership and culture change. Murray says there is a problem with violent crime downtown and thinks the city should arrest low-level, chronic offenders and direct them to treatment and services. He has proposed hiring 100 officers over the next four years.


Murray supports renewing the Housing Levy when it expires in 2016. He supports programs that entice developers to help provide affordable housing when they build new apartments. He also supports microhousing, or APodments, but said the city should be more involved in directing density to where it has been planned for. Murray has been critical of the city allowing big houses that are out-of-scale with existing neighborhoods. On homelessness, Murray emphasizes homeless youth, who make up only about 8 percent of the total homeless people in Seattle. Murray does not believe the city should change its rules to allow more, expanded homeless encampments.

Excessive force by police

Murray says McGinn engaged in unnecessary battles with the Department of Justice, the City Council and City Attorney Pete Holmes over the scope of reforms that were ultimately adopted under a settlement agreement.

Domestic Violence

Murray criticizes McGinn’s decision to eliminate the city’s office and director devoted to domestic violence and move its functions within a larger department. Murray pledges he’d restore the office if elected mayor. A PAC ad by a pro-Murray PAC has falsely suggested a link between the reorganized office and a spike in domestic violence.


Murray, like McGinn, is interested in a city-owned broadband network. Since cost is prohibitive, Murray supports a partnership McGinn set up with the University of Washington and Gigabit Squared to lease the city's fiber and make available cheaper, faster internet service.

More issues will be added regularly


The early years

Senator Ed Murray and environmental leader Hazel Wolfe. (Photo courtesy Ed Murray campaign)

Ed Murray was born in Aberdeen, one of seven children in his Irish-Catholic family. He spent much of his childhood in West Seattle’s Alki neighborhood, and was student-body president at his high school in Lacey, Thurston County.

Murray studied briefly at a seminary after high school, then went to the University of Portland, where he got a degree in sociology. In 1980, he came out as gay.

Building a career

Murray developed an interest in politics, managing the 1988 campaign of Cal Anderson, who was the state’s first openly gay legislator. He worked as an aide to City Councilmember Martha Choe for four years in the 1990s, then managed a gay-rights nonprofit.

Anderson died in 1995, and Murray ran for office, hoping to replace his mentor as a state senator representing the 43rd Legislative District. Murray lost to state Rep. Pat Thibaudeau, and then was appointed to Thibaudeau’s House seat.

In 2006, Murray challenged Thibaudeau for her Senate seat. Thibaudeau dropped out of the race, and Murray has been a state senator ever since.

Time in office

Sen. Ed Murray, left front, smiles on the Senate floor while his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki, left, Rep. Jamie Pedersen and Gov. Chris Gregoire watch as the same-sex marriage vote passed the Senate in Olympia in February 2012. (Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

In the Legislature, Murray is best known for his work on gay rights, in particular, his legislation to make same-sex marriage legal. In the House, he was chair of the Capital Budget Committee, where he focused on low-income housing. As chairman of the House Transportation Committee, he sponsored legislation that included the Highway 99 tunnel.

In 2009, Murray considered a write-in campaign for mayor, after political newbies Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan made it through the primary. He was poised to become Senate Majority Leader in 2012, but he was passed over after a coup in the Democratic Party made Sen. Rodney Tom majority leader, with the support of Republicans.

When the Legislature is not in session, Murray works as a project manager, doing outreach for the University of Washington.

In August, he married his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki. They live on Capitol Hill.


Mayoral candidate Ed Murray and his partner, Michael Shiosaki, wave after his victory speech at his primary campaign reception in August at The Crocodile in Belltown. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Murray was not allowed to raise money for his campaign while the Legislature was in session, restricting him for much of the primary campaign. But he garnered big-name support, with endorsements from the downtown business community, five members of the Seattle City Council, former Gov. Christine Gregoire, The Seattle Times and others.

On the campaign trail, he stressed his ability to get along with others, and spoke often about his work on gay rights. He has highlighted many of the same priorities as the current mayor — education, transit, jobs — but says his style of working in partnership with other leaders will be more effective than the mayor’s go-it-alone approach.

Campaign financing

The dots are colored to show which candidate has raised the highest dollar amount in each zip code. The size represents the total amount contributed in each area. (Updated weekly)


Financial disclosure