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Beto Yarce
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Sawant city council challenger Beto Yarce pulls out of race

Beto Yarce originally announced his candidacy at El Cuento Preschool last November. (Graham Johnson, KIRO 7)

The first candidate to officially issue a challenge to Kshama Sawant’s District 3 city council seat has announced that he’s pulling out of the race.

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“I have decided to suspend my campaign for Seattle City Council, District 3,” he said in a statement issued Tuesday. “One of the things that I learned on the campaign trail is that small businesses need additional support. I can be most effective supporting entrepreneurs in our community by remaining at Ventures.”

Yarce is currently the executive director at Ventures, a nonprofit small business incubator.

The decision to pull out comes at an odd time. Yarce had raised almost $8,000 in campaign contributions, was actively campaigning as recently as last week, and had scored endorsements from State Senator Marko Liias, Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta, and Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins.

Just last Wednesday, local company Molly Moon’s Ice Cream issued its own endorsement. As of Jan. 24, Yarce had accumulated the requisite donations and signatures required to qualify for Seattle’s Democracy Voucher Program.

“This has not been an easy decision for me, especially with the overwhelmingly positive feedback, endorsements, grass roots support, and momentum I have received,” his Tuesday statement continued. “But I believe that I can take what I have learned through this process and channel it into other programs, organizations and opportunities that satisfy the goals I established in my campaign.”

As of late Tuesday morning, Yarce had yet to update his social media accounts and campaign website on the status of his now-suspended campaign.

Still challenging Sawant will be neighborhood activist Pat Murakami, Hashtag Cannabis head Logan Bowers, activist Asukaa Jaxx, and Seattle Public Defender Ami Nguyen.

Check out the full list of Seattle City Council candidates here

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