State Sen. Ed Murray, running against incumbent Mike McGinn for Seattle mayor, says he supports a plan to bring alternative high-speed Internet to Seattle — countering McGinn’s attempts to label him as “Comcast’s candidate.”
The political jousting follows reports Thursday afternoon highlighting Comcast’s campaign contributions to Murray. A report by the Washington Post suggested that Comcast, along with other Internet providers, was backing Murray in hopes of putting a stop to Gigabit Squared’s planned high-speed fiber network.
In an email, Murray campaign spokesman Sandeep Kaushik tells Ars Technica that Murray does in fact support citywide high speed broadband and he has no plans of preventing Gigabit Squared to expand services after a test project gets underway this January.
Kaushik said that Comcast’s direct $700 contribution to the Murray campaign came during the candidate’s legislative race in August 2012 and was converted to the mayoral race once Murray announced he was running.
“As for why they gave, I can’t speak for them,” Kaushik told Ars Technica. “But I can say that there’s no doubt that the current mayor’s combative style and divisive approach to governance has alienated many, many people, and not just in the business community.”
Meanwhile, McGinn, who has publicly supported high-speed Internet for the past few years and helped set up the public-private partnership with Gigabit, sent an email to supporters this morning with the subject line: “Washington Post exposes Murray as Comcast’s candidate.”
McGinn outlined his mission to bring “more choices” for broadband Internet in Seattle, and also asked for campaign contributions.
“Did you know that Comcast, AT&T, and CenturyLink have maxed out to my opponent’s campaign?” the email reads. “Along with the Broadband Communications Association of Washington PAC, they want to keep their competitive advantage in Seattle and limit access to less expensive internet. The contrast is clear. I will stand up to these big corporate interests and put the needs of our community first.”
Worth noting that the “maxed out” contributions were $700 from each company, the legal maximum allowed.