You Won't Have Greg Nickels to Kick Around Anymore

Where was this guy during the last eight years? Greg Nickels' concession speech at City Hall today was filled with self-deprecation and one-liners, the sort of thing we haven't seen a lot of during the mayor's disciplined, access-stingy tenure at City Hall, when spokespeople did more of the talking. (Of course, it helped that the room was packed with supporters to sell his jokes.) After explaining that he'd called Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan to congratulate them on making the general election, Nickels declared that he'd governed with an eye to "the future of the city" rather than to preserving his own popularity. Then he quipped, that based on the election results, "I've succeeded beyond my wildest dreams."

Nickels blamed his loss on voters' desire for "a new generation of leadership," and refused to get into the details of the campaign, dismissing speculation about his strategic decisions (like running attack ads against Joe Mallahan) by arguing that there was a ceiling of about 26% for his support in the primary.

Careful to avoid anything that might be considered meddling in the general election--beyond subtly encouraging his successor to see through the expansion of light rail--Nickels said he doesn't know who he'll vote for, let alone whether he'll endorse one of the candidates. He did, however, defend himself indirectly against Mallahan's assertion that the city government is "broken." "Those running should make the case that they are the best person," said Nickels, "but they should not denigrate our success." As for what's next, Nickels said it would involve public service but wouldn't match the honor of being mayor. After a pause, he added, "It may pay better." Laughter followed.

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