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State Sen. Ed Murray leads in Seattle mayor race

SEATTLE – In the race for Seattle mayor, State Sen. Ed Murray, the architect of Washington state’s gay marriage law, carried 56 percent of the vote in the first round of ballot counting Tuesday night, building a comfortable lead over bike-riding incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn. Because Washington state elections are done by mail, and ballots only needed to be postmarked by Tuesday, many votes are left to count.

Murray spoke as if the race was settled Tuesday night, saying that he would be mayor of all of Seattle and that the election was a chance for the city to come together – both internally and with counterparts around the state.

“Seattle wants to reach out and create a new relationship with our region, create a new relationship with our state,” Murray said.

McGinn said he expects he will have to concede but said he wanted to wait and see more votes counted before doing so. He also asked his supporters to continue to press to hold Seattle to its ideals.

In their campaign to court the left-leaning voters in the Northwest’s largest city, the two mayoral candidates largely embraced similar policy positions, including a $15 minimum wage, new taxes and legal marijuana.

SeaTac wage

A national push to create a $15 minimum wage found a source of momentum as an initiative on the issue built an early lead in the airport city of SeaTac.

An early count showed the measure carrying 54 percent of the vote.

The SeaTac campaign drew national attention from both labor unions and business groups, with the two sides combining to spend $1.8 million, enough money to hire every registered voter in the city for a day at $15 per hour.

Senate race

Republican Jan Angel jumped to an early lead in the race for the Senate’s 26th District.

Angel held a 51 percent to 49 percent lead over Democrat Nathan Schlicher in preliminary returns from Kitsap and Pierce counties.

A predominantly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus currently controls the Senate with the help of two Democrats, giving the majority caucus a one-vote advantage in the chamber. Republicans hope to gain another seat to give their caucus more cushion heading into the 2014 election, when about half of the Senate faces re-election.

Both currently represent the district they are vying for, a swing district that includes Bremerton.