Joe Mallahan

Joe Mallahan is a telecommunications executive, former Chicago community organizer and unsuccessful candidate in the 2009 Seattle mayoral election.[1] In preliminary results in the August 18 primary, he and Michael McGinn received the greatest number of votes and, as a result of Washington State's nonpartisan blanket primary system, became the two candidates in the November 3, 2009 general election.


Joe Mallahan was born and raised in Everett and is the seventh of nine children. He completed his undergraduate studies in American politics at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he worked during college as a legislative aide to Washington State Democratic Congressman Al Swift.[2] He also holds a master's degree in East Asian Studies from the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington and an MBA from the University of Chicago.[3] During his studies for his master's degree from the University of Washington Mallahan spent a year in a fellowship at the Japanese Ministry of Education conducting research on economic development aid. Joe is married to Carolyn Mallahan and they have two daughters, Irina and Masha. Both Joe and Carolyn Mallahan are volunteers and major fundraisers for the AmeriCorps organization City Year.[4] The family lives in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood.

Professional career

Mallahan began his career working in Chicago with an auditing firm and then for Century Supply Company, where company executives were sufficiently impressed with his suggestions for improving efficiency to appoint him President of the company in 1995 at age 31.[3] He later worked for cell-phone service provider VoiceStream, which was purchased by T-Mobile and brought Mallahan and his family back to Seattle in 2000. He is now Vice President of Operations Strategy at T-Mobile. Joe left T-Mobile in 2011 to pursue other opportunities.[3]

Political Activism

Mallahan began his political activism in Chicago while working as the President of Century Supply Company.[4] There Mallahan helped establish United Power for Action and Justice and received training and work as a community organizer from the Industrial Areas Foundation. After returning to Seattle in 2000 Mallahan worked on fellow Industrial Areas Foundation alumnus Barack Obama's presidential campaign but it was not until the 2009 Seattle mayoral race that he ever ran for political office.[5] In addition to his work earlier work with Representative Al Swift Mallhan later worked as a legislative aide to Washington Republican Senator Slade Gorton. Since his return to Seattle and registering to vote in April 2000 elections records in King County show that Mallahan has voted in 12 of the 25 elections he was eligible to participate in.[6]

2009 Seattle Mayoral Campaign

On April 29, 2009 Mallahan declared his candidacy for in an open letter to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickles declaring city government broken, no longer providing basic services and that Nickels was out of touch. In an effort to match Nickles' already existing $280,000 campaign reserves Mallahan committed $200,000 of his own money to his campaign. In between declaring his candidacy and the primary elections Mallahan raised nearly $200,000 in additional contributions from independent sources.[7] After successfully passing the primary election Mallahan personally contributed approximately $30,000 in additional funds and raised another $130,000 from independent sources.[8] Mallahan has come under substantial criticism from people such as Mike McGinn and Washington State Senator Ed Murray accusing him of "buying his way into the campaign".[9] On November 9 Mallahan conceded the election to Mike McGinn to a margin of less than one percent.[10]


  1. Heffter, Emily (2009-05-06). "Unknown Seattle mayoral candidate gives $200,000 to his campaign". Seattle Times.
  2. Brunner, Jim (2009-07-23). "Mallahan becomes biggest wild card in race for Seattle mayor". Seattle Times.
  3. 1 2 3 Onstot, Laura (2009-07-29). ""Regular Joe" Mallahan's Stuck in the Bike Lane". Seattle Weekly.
  4. 1 2 "About Joe". Official Mallahan Campaign Website.
  5. Young, Bob (2009-09-21). "Minority leaders eye 'complete strangers' in Mallahan and McGinn". Seattle Times.
  6. Holden, Dominic (2009-09-29). "Mallahan: More Missed Votes". SLOG: The Stranger Blog.
  7. "McGinn's Campaign: Successfully Underfunded". Seattle Weekly. Oct 13, 2009.
  8. "Contributions to Joe Mallahan". City of Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.
  9. Heffter, Emily (2009-05-06). "Unknown Seattle mayoral candidate gives $200,000 to his campaign". The Seattle Times.
  10. Emily Heffter and Jonathan Martin (2009-11-09). "McGinn next Seattle mayor; Mallahan concedes as vote gap widens". Seattle Times.
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