Washington state Senator Ed Murray on Wednesday announced he intends to run for Seattle mayor next year.

If elected, Murray would become the first openly gay person to lead the city.

Murray said he is establishing an exploratory committee.

“I want to put down my marker,” Murray said. “I want to start having conversations with people.”

Democrats elected Murray, who played a pivotal role in passage of Washington's gay marriage law, to be their new leader.

Murray told alternative weekly The Stranger that he's looking to run on his credentials, not his sexual orientation.

“It can work both ways,” he said. “If people see me just as the gay candidate, they will vote against me. Even gay people will vote against me. I have to be the gay who did something.”

“If I win, it will be because people know I am a legislator who has been able to accomplish things on civil rights and who gets things done.”

Legislative rules will keep Murray from raising money until after the end of the upcoming legislative session.

Equal Rights Washington on Thursday immediately sent out a call for donations.

“There is no time to waste – the mayoral campaign has begun, and Ed needs us to have his back now,” the group said in an email to supporters. “Unlike other candidates, starting this Friday night Ed can't accept campaign donations until the legislative session ends in late April. It is absolutely critical that we get our contributions in today and tomorrow before Ed's window of opportunity closes.”