Former Sonic James ‘Dukes’ Donaldson launches campaign for Seattle mayor

Mar 4, 2021, 12:43 PM | Updated: 5:55 pm
James Donaldson...
Former NBA player James Donaldson attends NY Giant Justin Tuck's Celebrity Billiards Tournament at Slate on June 3, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for All Stars Helping Kids)
(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for All Stars Helping Kids)

James Donaldson, a former Seattle SuperSonic, launched his campaign for Seattle Mayor on Thursday.

Donaldson earned the nickname “Dukes” for his aggressive stance as the Sonics’ center in his three seasons with the team, though he would go on to play with a number of other NBA teams in his career. He is a graduate of Washington State University, having played for the Cougars from 1975-1979. He was drafted by the Sonics in the fourth round of the 1979 NBA draft.

In retirement, Donaldson owned a physical therapy business, and has previously run for city office. In 2009, he ran for mayor and came in fourth.

He started a foundation called Your Gift of Life in 2019, a nonprofit foundation for mental health awareness.

“Three values have made Seattle a world leader: compassion, innovation, and problem solving,” Donaldson said Thursday as he announced his campaign. “Our city is at its best when we remember the values that unite us.”

“We all know that the city faces three big challenges. Homelessness, a loss of trust in law enforcement, and need to ‘build back better’ as we return to normal after COVID,” he continued. “Each of these challenges can be met with compassion, innovation, and problem solving.”

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

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

Durkan revealed her intentions in a video, saying 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.

Donaldson joins a growing field of mayoral candidates, which includes Seattle City Council President Lorena Gonzalez, Chief Seattle Club Executive Director Colleen Echohawk, urbanist architect Andrew Grant Houston, and affordable housing developer Lance Randall, among others.

The filing window for mayoral campaigns in Seattle will span five days between May 17-21, 2021, although official announcements regarding intentions to run will likely precede that period.

Donaldson joined the Dori Monson Show to discuss his mayoral campaign. Listen below:

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
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Former Sonic James ‘Dukes’ Donaldson launches campaign for Seattle mayor