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  How an underdog named Mike McGinn took City Hall
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Parent(s) Race 
ContributorCraverguy 
Last EditedCraverguy  Nov 10, 2009 07:17am
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CategoryAnalysis
AuthorEmily Heffter
MediaNewspaper - Seattle Times
News DateSunday, November 8, 2009 08:10:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionMoments 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.
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