NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Mike McQuaid pulls the plug on challenge to Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda

Coun­cil­member Tere­sa Mosque­da has once again become the sole can­di­date run­ning for one of Seat­tle’s two at large city coun­cil seats after her ini­tial oppo­nent Mike McQuaid decid­ed to drop out with­in days of hav­ing declared his candidacy.

McQuaid, a self-described “com­mu­ni­ty coun­cil leader and civic activist,” announced his chal­lenge to Mosque­da bare­ly a week before a series of embar­rass­ing rev­e­la­tions about past crim­i­nal behav­ior sur­faced, tor­pe­do­ing his bid.

Mike McQuaid, briefly a Seattle City Council candidate

Pub­lic­i­ty pho­to pub­lished by Mike McQuaid for his short lived city coun­cil cam­paign (Pho­to: Mike McMquaid for Seattle)

In a Feb­ru­ary 26th report by polit­i­cal reporter David Gut­man, The Seat­tle Times report­ed that McQuaid had been arrest­ed in 2015 for assault­ing a con­struc­tion work­er at a site near his con­do in West­lake. McQuaid had report­ed­ly argued with the man over some land­scap­ing, then threat­ened to head butt him.

Accord­ing to police reports, the sit­u­a­tion quick­ly dete­ri­o­rat­ed, with McQuaid pick­ing up a gas-pow­ered chop saw and threat­en­ing to decap­i­tate his foe.

When he couldn’t start the saw, he threw a rock at the man, injur­ing his low­er back. He then lied to the police when they arrived, claim­ing to be the vic­tim (despite wit­ness­es at the scene of the fight).

McQuaid lat­er agreed to a deferred pros­e­cu­tion and served a year of pro­ba­tion and twen­ty-four hours on a work crew.

The Times’ report led to court search­es by oth­er news orga­ni­za­tions and the pic­ture quick­ly got worse for McQuaid: the “com­mu­ni­ty leader” has a record of bad behav­ior going back to the 1990s, involv­ing assault, work­place sex­ism, a dodgy unem­ploy­ment claim, and even let­ting his dog bite someone!

While McQuaid was unlike­ly to prove a seri­ous chal­lenger to Coun­cil­member Mosque­da, Mosqueda’s sup­port­ers are like­ly to be pleased that she is once again unop­posed for the time being. Mosque­da has been one of the City Council’s lead­ing pro-work­er voic­es since her elec­tion to Posi­tion 8 in 2017.

Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda takes her oath of office in 2017

Coun­cil­woman Tere­sa Mosque­da takes her oath of office in 2017 (Pho­to: Seat­tle City Coun­cil, repro­duced under a Cre­ative Com­mons license)

In her capac­i­ty as bud­get chair, she has been instru­men­tal to the Council’s efforts to com­bat home­less­ness, tax large cor­po­ra­tions, reform the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment, and get haz­ard pay for gro­cery work­ers on the front lines of the pandemic.

By con­trast, McQuaid was a polit­i­cal blank slate.

His cam­paign web­site (which has been tak­en down) con­tained no spe­cif­ic vision for the city’s future – or even a cri­tique of Coun­cil­member Mosqueda’s record – instead focus­ing on his sta­tus as a fourth-gen­er­a­­tion Seattleite.

In inter­views, he refused to take stands on Seattle’s most press­ing issues, but did crit­i­cize the Council’s actions on haz­ard pay and the SPD as too radical.

His cam­paign was rem­i­nis­cent of a num­ber of coun­cil can­di­dates in 2019 who hoped that their bland­ness, helped by a flood of cam­paign cash from Ama­zon and its cor­po­rate allies, could sweep away left-lean­ing incum­bents that had been mak­ing life incon­ve­nient for the city’s mas­sive businesses.

These tac­tics did not work in 2019.

Vot­ers react­ed in dis­gust to Amazon’s attempt to buy the elec­tion and reject­ed all but two Ama­­zon-endorsed can­di­dates. How­ev­er, the city’s cor­po­rate inter­ests are doubt­less still look­ing for a way put pro-busi­­ness can­di­dates in any seat they can and McQuaid (who worked at Ama­zon for two years in the ear­ly 2000s) may have been hop­ing to gain the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty’s sup­port for his bid.

The impor­tance of the races for the City Council’s two open seats pales next to this year’s big prize: a dozen can­di­dates have already filed for the may­oral elec­tion to replace out­go­ing incum­bent Jen­ny Durkan.

With a num­ber of promi­nent activists and com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers in the mix, it is like­ly to be a ener­get­i­cal­ly con­test­ed race — one which we’ll be track­ing here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate as the year goes on.

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