SEATTLE -- With polls showing state Senator Ed Murray with a commanding lead in the race for Seattle's next mayor, the 58-year-old is excited about his chances.

But the veteran campaigner and legislator remains calm.

I'm healthy, I'm alive and if I feel like I've done my best then I'll be fine, he says over a bowl of Irish oatmeal and tea at home.

One side of me is the politician. I love the people I love getting out there, Murray said. The other side is more contemplative.I love the time to be alone or with Michael.

Breakfast is with Murray's husband, Michael Shiosaki -- the openly gay senators partner of 22 years. Shiosaki is the Planning and Development Director of Seattle's Parks and Recreation Department.

The two were married in August thanks to the same-sex marriage law that Murray himself wrote and helped pass in Olympia.

Both men start early in the day. Shiosaki walks the dog and typically heads into work early. He's as meticulous a planner as he is designer. The backyard of their Seattle home is designed by Shiosaki, who calls it a permanent work in progress.

Murray does 25 minutes on the exercise bike around 6 a.m., and spends time meditating before checking his schedule. With a full schedule on the campaign trail, Murray says it s important he find a balance.

When asked how he responds to news articles and campaign mud-slinging, Murray simply says, I don't read them.

Polls indicate Ed Murray can expect good news on election day. If he ends up taking over at City Hall, he says the first orders of business include improving morale within city departments, selecting the new police chief and building more affordable housing in the city.

The city is going to grow. We know it s going to grow. But it has to be affordable, said Murray.

Murray, whose spent the past 18 years in the state legislature, is often labeled as the downtown candidate, catering to big business and the rich. But he's quick to point out he grew
up poor and has twice the number of labor unions endorsing him.

Now in his ninth campaign for public office, Murray won t forget that he lost his first campaign ever when he ran for the state legislature. He calls that important to his success.

When I lost, the phone stopped ringing. I realized then that public office isn't about me, Murray said.

But Murray says what keeps him grounded are things like family and the fact that he lost many of his friends to HIV and AIDS
before he was 40.

I spent my 30s going to funerals and I'm spending my 50s going to weddings, he smiles. If I lose this race, of course I'd be disappointed. But I'd be happy to look for the next thing.

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