The local political rumor mill was in overdrive this weekend with hints that Mayor Ed Murray could end his re-election bid. But anything more substantive than gossip is in short supply.
KING 5 reported on the rumors last night, citing two anonymous "sources in the mayor's inner circle." The Stranger has heard similar rumors from sources close to local politics, though none of those sources are in the "mayor's inner circle." Crosscut and Publicola have heard similar rumors. But Murray's camp says the mayor still intends to file to run for office, "no question about it." (Filing week runs from May 15 to May 19.)
The rumors come as Murray denies allegations that he raped and molested several men when they were teenagers in the 1980s. One of those men, Delvonn Heckard, filed a civil lawsuit against Murray last month. Two other men made similar allegations, and a fourth accuser came forward last week. (He says Murray paid him for sex, but it’s unclear whether he was under the age of consent at the time of the alleged sex.)
The rumors also follow two recent polls concerning the allegations against Murray and potential mayoral challengers.
Murray, who was elected in 2013, has raised nearly $400,000 and repeatedly vowed to continue running for re-election despite the civil lawsuit. None of the mayor's endorsers rescinded support in the face of the allegations, according to his campaign. When I called every labor union on his endorsements list, all of those who called me back indicated they would stand behind Murray.
It the mayor does drop out, all those backers will be looking for another candidate to support, likely a current Murray ally. Five Seattle City Council members have endorsed the mayor's re-election, and one of them seems poised to enter the race if the mayor drops out. The most commonly mentioned names: Bruce Harrell or Lorena González.
The race could also attract state legislators (Bob Hasegawa? David Frockt?) or a business leader (Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce CEO Maud Daudon?). The business community is reportedly unhappy with all of the current candidates, including Murray.
Over the weekend, McGinn became the latest candidate to issue a statement on the allegations against Murray.
"I am discouraged that Mayor Murray has employed the same rhetoric attacking the credibility of his accusers that is frequently used to discredit survivors of abuse," McGinn said. "Their claims deserve to be taken seriously."