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One and done — Durkan says won’t seek reelection in 2021

After a year battling the COVID-19 crisis and struggling with ongoing Black Lives Matter and anti-police unrest in the city, Jenny Durkan has announced she will not seek reelection after finishing her term as Mayor of Seattle next year.

“I have decided not to run for reelection because Seattle, we still have some tough months ahead,” Durkan said in a video statement on the decision. “I will focus on leading our city as we plan to reopen and distribute a vaccine, support our workers and small businesses, continue reimagining community safety, and addressing challenges like the West Seattle Bridge, homelessness, and climate change.”

“Together, we can get through this, and come back stronger, better and more equitable,” Durkan said in the one minute, 55 second video that plays much like a campaign ad and has been paid for by her reelection campaign.

The former federal prosecutor cruised to victory in 2017 easily besting her more progressive opponent, Cary Moon in the wake of the Ed Murray sex abuse scandal. Durkan became the first woman to lead the city since 1926 and the first out lesbian mayor in the Pacific Northwest.

While Durkan says the decision not to fight for reelection will allow her to focus on the major issues facing the city including COVID and the West Seattle bridge, addressing most of the issues she includes in the video would also have gone a long way in a bid to retain her office.

On Capitol Hill, Durkan last week pledged her support for an “urgent” effort to reopen Cal Anderson and remove the barricade wall from around the neighborhood’s East Precinct moves that would also require the city addressing challenging issues around homelessness and encampments in the park and the ongoing anti-police marches and sometimes nightly clashes with police.

The last Seattle mayor to serve a second consecutive term was Greg Nickels whose term ended in 2009.

Durkan foreshadowed her ambivalence about the role this summer as she described thoughts of “a Thelma and Louise moment” for her and SPD Chief Carmen Best as controversy grew around the evacuation of the East Precinct and CHOP. Best resigned weeks later. Durkan will finish her term before that movie moment fully plays out.

Durkan in happier times (Image: CHS)

The move leaves one candidate currently announced for the 2021 mayor’s race. SEED Seattle’s Director of Economic Development and Interim Executive Director Lance Randall announced his candidacy earlier this year. But the race is sure to thicken. Both of the Seattle City Council’s at-large members, council president Lorena González and her counterpart Teresa Mosqueda, could mount a challenge. Meanwhile, District 3 representative Kshama Sawant remains undefeated in the city since her unsuccessful run for the state legislature. How she’d fare in a citywide election could be another story.

In addition to lacking an incumbent candidate, the 2021 race will also be notable as the first time the city’s Democracy Vouchers can be used for mayoral candidates.

This month, meanwhile, the City Council will take up Durkan’s request for the city to pay $240,000 in legal costs incurred in her successful effort to have a recall campaign against her tossed out.


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All Power to the People
All Power to the People
1 month ago

TLDR: “Tear-Gas Jenny has had enough of being criticized by the hoi polloi.”

Brendan
Brendan
1 month ago

I kind of thought this would happen as soon as she ended up in a conflict with Sawant. One of them was going to get pushed out, and Sawant is just a better brawler politically speaking.

p-patch
p-patch
1 month ago

I’d love to see some strong, center-left candidates. The far-left has shown an aptitude for slogans, but couldn’t govern their way out of a wet paper bag if their lives depended on it. Sure, there are still a lot of social justice issues that need to be addressed, but there are also issues related to jobs, regional transit and a host of topics faced by mayors around the world. The epicenter of Seattle is not the East Precinct and I hope a new mayor and a new city council will work for the city as a whole.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  p-patch

Well said!

Travis
Travis
1 month ago
Reply to  p-patch

Thank you for this!

CD Born and Raised
CD Born and Raised
1 month ago
Reply to  p-patch

All we’ve had is centrists. Durkan and Moon were centrists/borderline Republicans. Oliver is the only one I want to be mayor at this moment!

Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
1 month ago

Can’t even take this seriously.

HTS3
HTS3
1 month ago

Borderline Republicans? Really? Trump received over 70 million votes. Those are Republicans. The City Council is so far Left now that it has altered how we define the middle. I’d say that Durkan represents the middle of the Left. Obviously my perspective, not yours.

Hillery
Hillery
1 month ago

Au revoir in advance. However, was looking forward to her losing if she ran again.

Tanqueray
Tanqueray
1 month ago

It’ll be hilarious if Biden reinstalls her as US Attorney.

HTS3
HTS3
1 month ago

Dear Tim Burgess,
You were the only voice of reason on the City Council. I know you were already briefly the mayor, but please consider a longer commitment.

RWK
RWK
1 month ago
Reply to  HTS3

Yes! Burgess is a moderate who knows City Hall very well. I too hope he decides to run.

Durkan’s announcement is not surprising. Rightly or wrongly, she has been battered from both the right and the left, and would most likely not be re-elected.

CD Born and Raised
CD Born and Raised
1 month ago

Tear Gas Jenny will not be missed! Good riddance!

CD Rez
CD Rez
1 month ago

i cant imagine who would even want the job.

CH206
CH206
1 month ago

I voted straight democrat on the nov 3rd 2020 ballot but come next year, I’m so fed up with this city, I’d vote for a republican if one ran for mayor.

RWK
RWK
1 month ago
Reply to  CH206

I would too, as long as he/she was a moderate politically.

Ricky
Ricky
1 month ago
Reply to  CH206

#Same

The massive encampments will hopefully sink some of the leftist candidates in 2021 as it becomes more apparent the impact they have on community space – it’s become too big of a problem to ignore.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
1 month ago
Reply to  CH206

So you voted 100% Democrat in the recent election, but since the election, it’s the Republican party that have won you over? I’m highly skeptical that you are telling the truth, but to each their own.

You’ll probably get some great Republican candidates in the 2021 mayoral election primary to vote on, like GoodSpaceGuy or Harley Lever!

Also curious what you think a Republican mayor would do different that is causing you to switch your undying political support, maybe hire Giuliani to sue the homeless?