Bagshaw's decision to bow out means District 7, which encompasses downtown Seattle, Queen Anne and Magnolia, will be an open seat in next year's election.

Share story

Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw won’t run for re-election next year, she said Tuesday.

That means District 7, which encompasses downtown Seattle, Queen Anne and Magnolia, will be an open seat in next year’s council elections.

“I have truly enjoyed my work on the Seattle City Council these past nine years and have been honored to serve as the council member for D7,” Bagshaw said in a written statement.

“For the next twelve months I will work hard to implement the projects of importance to those of us who live in D7 and make some bold moves for the people living and working across our city and region.”

Bagshaw’s bowing out was long rumored at City Hall, and she first made it official in an interview with Crosscut.

She’s the second sitting council member to decline another run, with District 4’s Rob Johnson announcing his decision earlier this month. All seven of the council’s district seats will be up for election next year.

“I have been lucky to know and work with Sally Bagshaw for many years, and I have been lucky to see firsthand Sally’s love for Seattle and commitment to more vibrant, inclusive communities,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement.

A former high-level King County prosecutor, Bagshaw was first elected in 2009 and won re-election to her citywide seat in 2013. When the council moved to geographic representation for seven seats in 2015, she won District 7 with nearly 81 percent of the vote.

In recent years, the 67-year-old has chaired the council’s human-services committee, seeking political consensus on issues related to Seattle’s homelessness crisis and advocating a regional approach.

Bagshaw sometimes has sided with mayors Ed Murray and Durkan against some of the council’s more activist members. She supported Durkan this past year in halving the size of a controversial head tax on large businesses, and she later voted to repeal the tax under pressure from opponents.

She chaired the budget committee this fall, as the council adopted the mayor’s $5.9 billion proposal for 2019 with some changes, including funding to keep a number of homeless shelters open.

On Tuesday, Bagshaw said her priorities for her last year in office include drawing up a 1,000-unit regional housing plan, reconnecting Seattle to its downtown waterfront after the Alaskan Way Viaduct is demolished, improving Pioneer Square’s streets for pedestrians and striking a deal to replace the Magnolia Bridge.

“Whether we create (housing) units for our kids who are coming back home to live near us, for a new graduate looking for her first apartment or for new neighbors coming to join us from afar, we all deserve a place to call home in a vibrant neighborhood,” she said. “It is our duty to get engaged anew and get the housing funded and built.”

The council member stood by Murray for months in 2017 as he was accused by multiple men of sexually abusing them when they were teenagers, at one point in a text message describing a push to oust him as “a political witch hunt.” After Murray’s younger cousin became his fifth accuser and the mayor resigned, Bagshaw said Murray’s denials had become less plausible over time and said her aim previously had been to “keep our eyes on the ball for the city’s business.”

In her statement, Durkan described Bagshaw as an accomplished sailor and pilot “who has repeatedly offered me lessons” and who soon will have more time for her hobbies.

Naveed Jamali, a former U.S. Navy Reserve intelligence officer and MSNBC intelligence analyst, is the only District 7 candidate as yet with a registered campaign.

Shaun Scott, a Democratic Socialists of America organizer and writer, announced his District 4 candidacy in The Stranger earlier this week.