Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess has dropped out of the race for mayor, he announced in a statement Friday.
"It is critically important that we elect a new mayor. However, with so many qualified candidates in the field, my continued candidacy may dilute the chance of achieving the positive change Seattle needs," he said.
The two-time councilmember was considered a formidable challenger to incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn. A former Seattle Police officer, Burgess was an outspoken critic of McGinn's handling of SPD controversies and an early advocate of police reforms.
The move is expected to hurt McGinn's chances in a primary as a field with fewer candidate can raise more money and mount a more formidable challenge.
While Burgess didn't indicate who he would support, there's speculation he's closest to Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle) and would likely endorse the state lawmaker.
"I will continue my work to transform our Police Department, support our officers, ensure public safety and rebuild the public's trust in their work," Burgess said.
Burgess had vowed to replace police chief John Diaz. But Diaz' retirement took much of the steam out of one of his biggest issues.
Seven other candidates including McGinn and Murray are vying for the job. Former Seattle Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck, Councilmember Bruce Harrell, real estate investor Charlie Staadecker, community activist Kate Martin and political activist Mary Martin have all declared.
The deadline to file is Friday afternoon.
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