Spin Control

Ed Murray staying a senator until year's end

OLYMPIA -- Ed Murray will keep two titles -- state senator and mayor-elect -- through the end of the year in case he has to return to the state capital for a special session on transportation.

In a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, Murray said he will resign his Senate seat on Dec. 31. That will give Democrats in his district the time to name a replacement before the regular session of the Legislature starts in January.

Murray, who won the Seattle mayor's race this month, had planned to resign before then, "but with the prospect of an upcoming vote on transportation, he did not want to leave the 43rd District without representation," Aaron Wasser, a spokesman for the Senate Democratic Caucus, said in a press release.

Inslee has said he might call a special session -- which would be this year's fourth -- if legislators can reach agreement on a package of transportation construction and maintenance projects accompanied by increases in the gasoline tax and some vehicle fees. The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, which includes all Republicans and two Democrats, reportedly is putting the finishing touches on a $8.7 billion package that would raise gas taxes by 11.5 cents over three years. Legislators will test the waters for such a plan later this week during committee hearings.

Under state law, Democratic precinct officers within Murray's legislative district will nominate up to three possible replacements, and the final choice will be made by the King County Council. The person selected will serve in the regular session and any special sessions in 2014, and run for election next November.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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