Majority of Seattle City Council now backs Murray for mayor

SEATTLE -- Some call it unusual - if not, unprecedented.

On Wednesday, a 5th Seattle City Councilmember endorsed the challenger in the Seattle mayoral race, which means a majority of the council now lends their support to the challenger instead of the incumbent.

The announcement came Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol Hill campaign offices for Ed Murray, who is running against incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn. Murray was endorsed by Seattle City Councilmember Jean Godden, who noted that there's been tension between existing members of the council and the current mayor.

Murray, currently a state senator, says it's been decades since the challenger to an incumbent Seattle mayor has landed a majority of endorsements from the city council. Gooden's announcement makes it five endorsements of the nine-member council for Murray.

McGinn seemed unfazed by the news.

"This is great. If Ed Murray's elected mayor, he, his big donors, and the council (members) can make all policies for the city of Seattle without any public input whatsoever," McGinn said.

But Murray counters that McGinn has his donors too.

"You can go through his list of donors and find all sorts of business and corporate donors as you can find on mine," Murray said. "My time in public life has been based on transparency."

University of Washington political science professor Matt Barreto says this isn't a make-or-break moment for Murray or McGinn, but it could shift momentum in the race.

"It certainly is a worrying sign for the mayor to have the city council opposed to his reelection," Barreto said. "But I think there's a lot of time left here."

With less than seven weeks until election day, Murray promised change; McGinn said he's already offered it.

"I'm proud of my openness at city hall. I'm proud of the endorsements I have," McGinn said. "When I run city hall -- if I get re-elected -- it's going to continue to be for the benefit of all the people."

Murray says there is always going to be a tension between the executive and the legislative branch.

"There will be if I'm elected mayor as well," Murray said. "It doesn't have to be the way it is today."