Christine Gregoire and Mike McGinn: Documenting the Viaduct Divide

The Seattle Times has a fascinating article looking at how the staff of Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire responded to the possibility that Mike McGinn would ...
by | December 21, 2009

The Seattle Times has a fascinating article looking at how the staff of Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire responded to the possibility that Mike McGinn would be elected mayor of Seattle. Gregoire and McGinn both are Democrats, but they have held different views on a replacement for the damaged Alaskan Way Viaduct, a critical issue in the mayor's race. The Crux:

OLYMPIA -- The e-mail went out the day after the August primary. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was losing, and Ron Judd, a senior adviser to Gov. Chris Gregoire, let the staff know he was worried.

"The Mayor is in big trouble and I am not sure he can pull it out even if he is in the run off. That brings me to the big issue that will be front and center between now and the election ... our tunnel."

...

Dozens of e-mails obtained by The Seattle Times through a public-records request illustrate a strategy to portray the tunnel as a done deal that could not be reversed. The e-mails deal with state officials briefing McGinn's general-election opponent, Joe Mallahan, on the project; working with the city of Seattle to push through an agreement on the tunnel; and releasing a video to a TV station depicting the viaduct's collapse in an earthquake.

I'll leave it to you to decide whether the governor's office did anything wrong. The article notes that using public resources to campaign is illegal. On the other hand, using public resources to advocate for a public policy outcome you support is completely appropriate.

Regardless, this article is a good reminder of just how much McGinn was mistrusted by the Washington political establishment and how much of an underdog he ways. On the list of stunning political victors of 2009, only Nassau County's Ed Mangano ranks higher.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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