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Must-read: How an underdog named Mike McGinn took Seattle’s City Hall

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Moments after the first returns were posted in the Seattle mayor’s race, Mike McGinn’s volunteer field director took the stage at the Capitol Hill party.

“It’s still really, really close,” Derek Farmer shouted. “We need everybody that has a phone to help.”

What happened next has become campaign lore among McGinn supporters.

Partygoers set down their beers, accepted scripts, phone sheets and pay-as-you-go cellphones, and The War Room bar became an impromptu phone bank to contact voters who hadn’t yet mailed ballots.

The campaign said it ended up delivering 200 ballots to the post office at midnight — a chunk of votes in a race that has McGinn and his opponent, Joe Mallahan, separated by 2,384 votes. It’s a slim but seemingly insurmountable lead. To catch McGinn, Mallahan would have to take about 54 percent of the remaining votes.

By all accounts, McGinn was the underdog in the race. He was out-fundraised by more than 3-to-1, and he lacked big-name endorsements. He was opposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, and most of the business and labor communities.

What he did have was a fleet of volunteers so devoted they deferred graduate school, borrowed money from their parents and spent hours contacting voters for McGinn. To read the rest of this article, please click here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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