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Mike McGinn enters the mayoral race

His campaign slogan is ‘Keep Seattle’

An aerial shot of the Greenwood neighborhood from 1969.
Seattle Municipal Archives

Former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn announced today that he’d be seeking another term.

McGinn was elected mayor in 2009, with a term from 2010 through 2013. He was unseated by current mayor Ed Murray in the 2013 general election.

An environmental and neighborhood activist and former state chair of the Sierra Club, McGinn spent his term advocating for increased bus and bike lanes—critics dubbed him “Mayor McSchwinn”—and against the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel megaproject.

A Seattle Sonics fan, McGinn has also advocated for a SODO arena, but said his candidacy is unrelated to recent attention on redeveloping KeyArena.

McGinn’s campaign slogan—“Keep Seattle”—seemed nonsensical to many at first, but he explained it speaks to fighting for the city’s identity.

"We all benefit when we keep Seattle,” he said at a press conference at his Greenwood home Monday morning. “We can’t let this city become San Francisco."

“We have a wonderful city and major employers want to be here. That’s great,” said McGinn. “But the same people who have helped make this city what it is, who have made it so attractive, are the people being pushed out by growth.”

Campaign priorities include expanding affordable housing in Seattle.

He said he commends the current administration’s Housing, Affordability, and Livability Agenda and supports making it easier to increase density, but would launch a “neighborhood-driven planning process” to “invite everyone in.”

This is on-brand for McGinn, whose administration was notorious for convening a large quantity of public meetings.

Mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver also advocated bringing communities back to the table an event in late March. Her platform puts a high priority on fighting displacement.

McGinn’s platform also includes ending regressive taxes—taxes that hit poorest communities the hardest—including implementing a test-case income tax and a tax on big businesses. He encouraged the City Council to beat him to the punch and pass an income tax this year.

McGinn is the first candidate to announce after a lawsuit surfaced against current mayor Ed Murray alleging he had sexually abused a teenager in the ‘80s. Murray has denied that claim, as well as similar allegations by two other men.

In a statement, Murray’s campaign called McGinn’s administration “divisive.”

Murray, despite the allegations against him, has declared his intent to continue his campaign. Attorney, community organizer, and spoken-word artist Oliver announced that she’s running as a People’s Party candidate in early March.

In a press conference at his Greenwood home this morning, McGinn said he’s “really trying to avoid talking about the mayor’s legal troubles,” but that he “looked at the lay of the land” before announcing.

McGinn has remained a public figure since his time in the mayor’s office, and his announcement adds another clear frontrunner to the race.