Jenny Durkan announces she won’t seek a second term as Seattle mayor

Dec 7, 2020, 10:37 AM | Updated: 1:33 pm

Jenny Durkan announced Monday that she will not be running for re-election as Seattle’s mayor, opting not to pursue a second term.

Durkan revealed her intentions in a video released Monday morning, saying that she believed she “had a choice to make” between spending 2021 campaigning for reelection and spending her energy “focusing on doing the job” of governing, especially during what health experts hope with be the critical tail-end of the pandemic.

“There was only one right choice for our city: doing the job,” she said. “I’ve decided not to run for reelection, because Seattle, we still have some tough months ahead.”

2020 marked a difficult year in Seattle politics, amid the COVID-19 crisis that put the city’s budget deeply in peril, the resignation of Police Chief Carmen Best, and summer protests that culminated in calls to cut 50% of the police department’s budget and redirect it into social programs.

Durkan was first elected mayor in 2016, beating out challenger Cary Moon by over 27,000 votes. Over her tenure, she’s frequently sparred with city councilmembers over issues ranging from homelessness to how money raised by a recently-implemented soda tax should be spent.

In her Monday announcement video, she touted “progress Seattle has made on key issues” over her time as mayor, including “free college, $1.7 billion in affordable housing, and protections for domestic workers and rideshare drivers.”

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement shortly after Durkan’s announcement, thanking her for “all she has done for Seattle,” and crediting her for leading the city “through tumultuous times.”

“She has always worked to represent the needs of all Seattleites and helped to make the city a world-class place during a time of strong economic transition,” he said.

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda — who some have speculated might be eyeing a mayoral campaign in 2021 — also sent out a statement Monday, saying the following:

I thank Mayor Durkan for the years of service she has provided to our City. While Mayor Durkan and I have had several disagreements on governing and policy over the last three years, we have also been able to find common ground to work on critical issues, and the community, workers and small businesses in this City are better for it. Mayor Durkan has especially shown leadership for our City’s youth, low-income workers, and on emerging needs through her work on the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD), the Families and Education, Preschool, Promise (FEPP) levy and Seattle Promise, and Transportation Network Companies (TNC) legislation.”

“This year has been filled with turmoil — a public health crisis, racial reckoning, and economic downturn. Anyone who serves in public office, in particular, through 2020, is to be commended and I appreciate her years of service, and wish her luck in the next endeavor.

Durkan’s decision not to run for a second term leaves the field wide open for a new mayor, although at this point it’s unclear who might step in as an early frontrunner for the job.

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Jenny Durkan announces she won’t seek a second term as Seattle mayor