Well, that was quick!
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Beto Yarce, the executive director at Ventures, announced he was suspending his campaign for city council in District 3.
"This has not been an easy decision for me, especially with the overwhelmingly positive feedback, endorsements, grass roots support, and momentum I have received," he wrote. "But I believe that I can take what I have learned through this process and channel it into other programs, organizations and opportunities that satisfy the goals I established in my campaign."
"Overwhelmingly positive feedback" seems like a bit of an overstatement. Though he was the first candidate to challenge incumbent Kshama Sawant this cycle, he fell behind Sawant and Hashtag Cannabis co-owner / scooter enthusiast Logan Bowers on fundraising. So far, Sawant has managed to raise over $23,000. Bowers has raised over $21,000. Yarce raised just under $12,000.
Yarce ran on a message of civility and helping people start small businesses, arguing that the problems facing Seattle could be solved if only council members could learn to "negotiate better." At his campaign kick-off event, he gave Seattle a taste of his crack negotiating tactics, saying that he would ask big corporations very nicely if they would please give us some money to help with our homelessness and housing crises, and then maybe talk about taxing them afterward.
Yarce did not immediately return a request for comment about whether the hellish search for an apartment on Capitol Hill contributed to his decision to drop from the race. According to independent journalist Erica C. Barnett, Yarce was still living in Mill Creek while "staying in a short term rental" on the Hill.
In a e-mail, Yarce said he and his partner found a place on Capitol Hill, and added that the search for housing did not contribute to his decision to drop out of the race.
Yarce also said he's "still in the process" of thinking about which candidate he'll support in the race, but he "wishes them the best in this journey."
Sawant declined to comment.
Bowers said that he and Yarce "share a desire to ensure that Seattle is a city that is rich in both culture and opportunity for everyone," and added that he looks forward to seeing what Yarce will do at his small business incubator.
Yarce's decision to drop raises a few burning questions: Who's going to run as Chamber bait now? Will the Chamber even try to play for this seat, or will they be content to let labor and the socialists fight it out in D3 and then spend their money in other races without incumbents? Only time will tell.