Murray receives key endorsement as mayoral race heats up

SEATTLE -- Seattle's two mayoral candidates took the campaign up a notch on Monday when they unveiled aggressive new strategies that picked apart each other's voting records and leadership style.

When voters look at Mike McGinn and Ed Murray, a lot of them see two progressive, liberal democrats in lock step on many issues. But on Monday both men began drawing the lines that separate them.

Murray began Monday with a key endorsement from Seattle firefighters. He then accused McGinn of ignoring the needs of the department.

"Not one, but many of our fire stations are far beyond the limit of the responses they should be making," Murray said.

McGinn held his own re-election event in Ballard, where he touted his inclusive governing style and blasted Murray's 18-year career in the state legislature.

"Senator Murray lost the leadership of the Senate, and that has consequences," he said.

McGinn also challenged Murray to promise to find solutions to transit problems, which include looming cuts for King County Metro.

"Senator Murray says if he's elected mayor he's going to use his relationships in Olympia to get us transit funding. I wish he'd do that while he was still there," McGinn said.

For his part, Murray questioned McGinn's claim about falling crime rates in Seattle.

"It took a tragic incident involving a Metro bus for the mayor to change his tone, but before that all we heard was crime is down," Murray said.

He went on to say McGinn fractured relationships with other city offices early in his term.

"What they'll get with me is somebody who actually knows government, knows how government works and will be ready on day one," Murray said.

McGinn admits there's been a learning curve to his job.

"I was really focused on how do we get this balanced budget in a way that worked, and I think I made a realization in that first year I had to get out a lot more," he said.

Seattle voters will have the final say on election day, which comes on November 5.