Key election dates, candidates and more things you need to know. Once-frontrunner Mayor Ed Murray on Tuesday dropped his bid for a second term.
Mayor Ed Murray ended his campaign to remain Seattle’s leader Tuesday, about a month after he was accused of sexually abusing teens in the 1980s, sending the mayoral race into unknown territory.
What happens next?
The race officially begins next week, when candidates file with the King County Elections Office. Here are the key dates:
- By May 19: Candidates must declare their candidacies.
- Aug. 1: A nonpartisan primary election will be held.
- Nov. 7: The top two candidates in the primary will face off in the general election.
- Jan. 1: The new mayor takes office.
Who are the other candidates running?
- Seattle Mayor Ed Murray won't seek second term: 'It tears me to pieces to step away'
- Here's what we need in a new Seattle mayor when Ed Murray leaves | Jerry Large
- The silence on Mayor Murray sent a loud message | Danny Westneat
- Opinion: A new mayor will be a chance for a fresh start for Seattle | Brier Dudley
- Murray drops out of mayoral race
- 5 things you now need to know about Seattle’s mayoral race
- The rise and fall of Murray’s political career
- Lawsuit alleges Mayor Ed Murray sexually abused troubled teen in 1980s
Activist and educator Nikkita Oliver was perhaps the best-known candidate running for mayor before sexual-abuse accusations against the mayor were reported by The Seattle Times. Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, transportation activist Cary Moon and state Sen. Bob Hasegawa have since entered the race.
Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, who has been meeting with possible supporters, is also expected to announce a run soon.
About a dozen candidates, including Murray, have campaigns registered with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, but that number will grow.
How is the race shaping up?
What looked like a relatively placid mayor’s race now appears to be wide open.
Through early May, Murray had raised nearly $375,000 for his campaign. Oliver, who listed more than $23,000 in contributions, was Murray’s nearest challenger in fundraising. Murray’s exit evens the field financially for other candidates.
Murray also had the endorsements of key labor unions, Gov. Jay Inslee, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and five City Council members.
The political scene will likely be a chaotic one through next week’s filing deadline, as candidates scramble to garner money and support.
What’s happening with Murray’s civil case over alleged sexual abuse?
Last month, Delvonn Heckard, a 46-year-old Kent man, accused the mayor of sexually abusing him for several years. That abuse, Heckard alleged, began in 1986 when he was 15. Three other men, who are not suing the mayor, have said the mayor paid them for sex when they were teenagers.
When the case against Murray was filed, a judge set a trial date for April 2018, which gives lawyers for both sides about a year to prepare if the case proceeds to trial. Recently in the case, a judge granted a motion to sanction Lincoln Beauregard, a lawyer for the mayor’s accuser, over “flagrant” violations of ethical-conduct standards for lawyers.
The judge chastised Beauregard and said some of his court filings appeared to be designed “for the sole purpose and intent of generating publicity.”
Also, Mayor Murray’s supporters want to set up a legal defense fund. An “effective defense” could cost $1 million or more, according to an attorney writing to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission on behalf of supporters.
Is this the end of political life for Murray?
Murray’s once-ascendant political career appears now to be in peril, at least, and it could be over.
Murray, who managed the campaign of mentor Cal Anderson, the first openly gay state legislator, in 1988, began serving as a state representative in 1995. In 2006, he became a state senator, and rose in political power. He left the Senate in 2013 to become Seattle’s mayor.
Known as a champion of gay rights and considered one of the country’s most progressive mayors, Murray saw the U.S. Supreme Court legalize same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015. During his time in office, he brokered a key deal with developers and housing advocates over affordable housing and pushed a $15 minimum-wage plan.