Putting an end to weeks of will-he-or-won’t-he, Mayor Ed Murray announced today he will not run a write-in campaign for a second term.
Instead, standing in the orate lobby of the Paramount Theater, Murray endorsed former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan for mayor.
Last month, Murray dropped his bid for re-election after multiple allegations that he sexually abused teenagers in the 1980s. (He denies those allegations.) After a lawsuit making abuse allegations was dropped, Murray said he was considering a write-in campaign. Two polls showed he might have a path.
Murray said polling over a potential write-in campaign showed a “narrow” path to victory. He and Durkan were among the top three picks in the poll. Murray wouldn’t reveal the third candidate. He also cited “huge legal bills” stemming from the lawsuit.
In announcing today’s press conference, Murray’s spokesperson promised news that would “shake up” the race. But the endorsement of Durkan doesn't come as a surprise. One of Murray’s former political consultants is now working for Durkan, and her campaign message so far has largely focused on continuing Murray’s work. Her platform offers few new ideas or promises.
Today, Murray recapped his accomplishments, including the increased minimum wage and his housing affordability plan (known as HALA), which he compared to Obamacare. (“It may not be perfect but if does not move forward 20,000 families will not have housing in this city.“) He argued those accomplishments happened because of “consensus building,” the same brand of politics Durkan promises.
“Democracy does not work without compromise and collaboration,” Murray said. He derided, as he has for months, what he characterizes as divisive left-versus-left infighting.
Durkan, he argued, is “head and shoulders above the rest” of the candidates in the race.
“I believed, number one, she has the best chance of winning,” Murray said of Durkan, “and I really do not want to see this city going back to the divisiveness I inherited.” Durkan “sent the first text” seeking Murray’s endorsement, the mayor said.
Durkan, an Obama-appointed U.S. attorney and well-known Democratic Party insider, said she was “honored” to have the mayor’s endorsement. She called him a “strong and good mayor.”
“We know that it’s not enough just to say words,” Durkan said, promising to work on homelessness, housing affordability, and fighting the Trump administration.
“We will make sure neither Donald Trump or Jeff Sessions can define for Seattle what its values are,” Durkan said.
Asked about his future, Murray said he does not plan to run for office again, but offered little idea of what else he might pursue.
“I can’t retire,” Murray said. “i need to work. I don’t know what that will look like.”