This morning, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced that he is ending his campaign for re-election. The news comes a little more than a month after The Seattle Times revealed that Murray is being sued for allegedly paying a minor for sex and also raping him. Three other men have made similar allegations.
The mood was somber, like a funeral. In the minutes before Murray arrived, people stood around on stage and in the audience. There were lots of pursed lips, tense whispers, and clasped hands.
Then Murray walked in, and the room erupted into applause for much longer than usual for a mayoral announcement. Joined by staff, supporters, labor and business representatives and councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Tim Burgess at Alki Bathhouse in West Seattle, where he grew up, Murray read prepared comments via teleprompter. The longtime state legislator described at length his many accomplishments as representative, senator and most recently the executive of Seattle, including the passage of marriage equality and anti-discrimination protections for LGBT Washingtonians.
“But this campaign for mayor must be about the future of our city,” said Murray. “The mayor’s race must be focused on [city] issues, not on a scandal, which it would remain focused on if I remained in this race.” Consequently, he’s dropping out of his reelection bid:
“I am announcing that I am withdrawing as a candidate for mayor,” he said.
Murray reiterated that he is innocent of the charges against him. He also thanked his husband, Michael Shiosaki, who he said has not received enough credit for how he’s handled the role of First Gentleman, and gave a long list of thanks to the people who have supported him throughout his career.
“As a poor kid from Alki, being mayor of this city has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Murray. “I am proud to have been part of some remarkable achievements that, for my entire life, people told me would never happen – from the civil rights bill to the ring I wear on my finger – and I plan to continue fighting for equity long after I am mayor. To the people of Seattle, thank you for the opportunity to serve you and this great city for more than two decades.”
Murray, who is ethnically Irish, concluded with a quotation from former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “To be Irish is to know that the world will break your heart. We thought we had a little more time.”
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