NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Ed Murray to end political career; won’t seek reelection as Mayor of Seattle

At a press con­fer­ence this morn­ing at Alki Beach, Seat­tle May­or Ed Mur­ray announced that he has decid­ed not to seek a sec­ond term as leader of the state’s largest city, say­ing “it tears me to pieces to step away”.

Flanked by loy­al sup­port­ers, Mur­ray reflect­ed on his accom­plish­ments before say­ing the 2017 may­oral race ought not to be focused on scan­dal.

Mur­ray, who pre­vi­ous­ly served as a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive and state sen­a­tor pri­or to being elect­ed May­or of Seat­tle four years ago, had seem­ing­ly been in good shape for reelec­tion before the fil­ing of a law­suit last month in which he was accused of hav­ing sex­u­al­ly abused a minor many years ago.

The fil­ing of the suit, which rocked Seat­tle pol­i­tics, was accom­pa­nied by the rev­e­la­tion that oth­er men have for years made sim­i­lar claims against Mur­ray.

The may­or stren­u­ous­ly denies the alle­ga­tions. But his han­dling of them has earned him wide­spread con­dem­na­tion from activists and media alike.

The Seat­tle Times edi­to­r­i­al board urged him to drop out of the 2017 race last month, and The Stranger fol­lowed suit yes­ter­day.

Up until this week­end, peo­ple in Mur­ray’s cir­cle were pub­licly insist­ing that he was run­ning for reelec­tion, and his most promi­nent back­ers were stand­ing by him. But then came the poll results. A sur­vey com­mis­sioned by the may­or’s camp appar­ent­ly found that the may­or’s posi­tion with the elec­torate had seri­ous­ly dete­ri­o­rat­ed.

And so Mur­ray is retir­ing rather than risk being defeat­ed in August (as Greg Nick­els and Paul Schell were) or in Novem­ber (as Mike McGinn was — by him).

Seat­tle is thus guar­an­teed to have a new may­or in 2018.

McGinn, who wants his old job back, is among a bevy of con­tenders who have stepped for­ward to suc­ceed Mur­ray. Oth­ers include activists Nikki­ta Oliv­er and Cary Moon, as well as State Sen­a­tor Bob Hasegawa, and tele­vi­sion pro­duc­er Michael Har­ris. Oth­er declared can­di­dates include Peter Alcorn, Casey Carlisle, David Ishii, Harley Lever, Mary Juani­ta Mar­tin, and Jason Roberts.

And more can­di­dates are now expect­ed to announce in the com­ing days. It could be one of the widest may­oral fields Seat­tle has seen in a long time.

For­mer Unit­ed States Attor­ney for West­ern Wash­ing­ton Jen­ny Durkan is expect­ed to launch a can­di­da­cy short­ly (with the back­ing of for­mer Gov­er­nor Chris Gre­goire), and Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber Bruce Har­rell is also said to be mulling a bid.

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