In an email to her supporters, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced this morning that she will not run for re-election in 2021.
Here is the full text of her announcement:
Mayor Durkan: My Focus Will Be On Beating COVID-19 and Rebuilding in a Tough Year Ahead
Seattle – With unprecedented challenges facing Seattle in 2020 and 2021, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that she will focus on addressing the greatest challenges in our city and will not for re-election.
In a video to supporters, Mayor Durkan highlighted the progress Seattle has made on key issues like free college, $1.7 billion in affordable housing, and protections for domestic workers and rideshare drivers. She also highlighted Seattle’s leadership during the pandemic in free citywide COVID-19 testing, a moratorium on evictions, securing PPE, and relief for small businesses, immigrants, and workers.
Mayor Durkan highlights the tough challenges still facing the City, including stopping the spread of the pandemic, reopening and distributing a vaccine, supporting our workers and small businesses, reimagining policing and community safety, and addressing challenges like the West Seattle Bridge, homelessness, and climate change.
“We know stopping the spread of the virus, protecting jobs and focusing on the economic recovery — especially for downtown– is going to take everything we’ve got. As Mayor approaching the last year of my term, that meant a choice. I could spend the next year campaigning to keep this job or focus all my energy on doing the job. There was only one right choice for our city: doing the job. I have decided not to run for reelection because Seattle, we still have some tough months ahead,” said Mayor Durkan.
WATCH: “Unprecedented Times”
Transcript of “Unprecedented Times:”
I first ran for Mayor to help address our growing economic disparity by working to create opportunities for everyone in our city.
We’ve accomplished — a lot — together.
Tuition free college with our Seattle promise.
$1.7 billion dollars in affording housing.
Additional protections for workers.
And we stood strong against the Trump Administration to protect immigrants, LGBTQ families and BIPOC communities.
But we know 2020 changed everything.
The pandemic hit us hard.
I’m proud Seattle has been a national leader in free citywide COVID-19 testing, a moratorium on evictions, securing PPE and doing everything possible to keep our communities healthy.
But we know stopping the spread of the virus, protecting jobs and focusing on the economic recovery — especially for downtown– is going to take everything we’ve got.
As Mayor approaching the last year of my term, that meant a choice. I could spend the next year campaigning to keep this job or focus all my energy on doing the job.
There was only one right choice for our city: doing the job.
I have decided not to run for reelection because Seattle, we still have some tough months ahead.
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.
Thank you for listening, for your support, and for your extraordinary efforts during these unprecedented times.
Please mask up and stay safe.
Three initial thoughts on this announcement:
- In retrospect, there was a sign that this was coming last week: Mayor Durkan asked the city to reimburse her legal expenses in defending against a recall petition earlier this fall — expected to total about $240,000. While the courts were deliberating on certification of the recall petition, Durkan drew attention to the fact that she was paying the legal bills herself while at the same time Council member Sawant was asking the city to cover hers (that case is currently still pending, but as of last month her attorney had billed the city $60,000). Both the amount and the fact that Durkan changed her mind would have been opposition talking points if she had decided to run for Mayor again.
- Now the speculation on Durkan will turn to whether she will accept a position with the Biden administration, and if so before the end of 2021 when her term as Mayor ends.
- The campaign for Mayor next year is now wide open. Expect a mad scramble for preemptive announcements to try to scare away others who might be considering a run from joining what could be a crowded field. The Mayor’s race is nonpartisan, and only the two candidates who capture the most votes in the August primary will move on to the general election.
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Not surprising and I wish Mayor Durkan well wherever she lands. Stepping back though I wonder what this says more broadly about the Seattle political environment and the ability for anyone to effectively lead this city. Outside of Mosqueda do you have any thoughts on an early list of contenders?
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