Seattle elected its first woman mayor in 90 years and its first lesbian. Her name is Jenny Durkan and she won with 61 percent of the vote over opponent, activist Cary Moon. It was a crazy election season that saw Seattle’s openly gay mayor Ed Murray resign as mayor on September 12 after a sex scandal involving under-age boys, and with 21 candidates in a super-competitive primary.
Multiple men publicly accused Murray of sexually abusing them decades ago, when they were teenagers. Murray vehemently denied the accusations but cited them when he ended his re-election campaign in May, turning the race upside-down. His campaign was overshadowed when his younger cousin became the fifth man to publicly accuse Murray of sexual abuse. Murray resigned within hours, setting off a peculiar series of events that included City Council President Bruce Harrell becoming mayor and then tuning the job over to Councilmember Tim Burgess.
Murray considered re-entering the race as a write-in candidate after a lawsuit against him was dropped. But, he ultimately decided against it.
The Durkan and Moon campaigns traded election-law complaints and negative television commercials.
Durkan acknowledged the challenges for Seattle: homelessness, gridlock, a lack of affordable housing, and a POTUS that few in the city voted for. Durkan:
“We really can show what it looks like when progressive values are put into action. Donald Trump, keep your hands-off Seattle!”
Durkan, who was the nation’s first openly-gay U.S. attorney, mentioned Bertha Knight Landes, Seattle’s colorful mayor from 1926-1928. She also referred to the famous tunnel-boring machine that broke down between 2013-2015 while digging the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project that had been named for her. Big Bertha’s failure cost the city $223 million in cost overruns from the two-year delay. Durkan:
“92-years later, Seattle is about to have a new woman mayor. Just imagine what they’re going to blame on me.”