Seattle's embattled Mayor Jenny Durkan will not seek another term

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced that she will not seek another term as mayor:

“I’ve decided that I will not seek a second term,” Durkan told KING 5. “2020 has just been a brutal year, but we have some really tough months ahead of us. We still have to fight COVID, we’ve got to deliver a vaccine, and we’re gonna have a really hard job of rebuilding our economy, our downtown and continuing all the work on equity. I could have spent the whole year campaigning to keep the job, or I can focus all my energies on doing the job. And I think there’s only one right choice for Seattle and that’s for me to do the job.”…

Durkan faced significant criticism, even from her staunchest allies, for the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) handling of protests on Capitol Hill and negotiations over funding. There has been a recall effort and vocal civic groups, some of which were her former supporters, calling for her resignation.

Durkan has been put under intense pressure by leftist activists including several members of the City Council. Socialist Council Member Kshama Sawant led protesters to Durkan’s house over the summer. Protesters returned to her home this October and left messages like “Jenny is a Nazi” on the sidewalk outside. Today, Durkan said that had nothing to do with her decision not to run for reelection, but I don’t believe it.

Durkan also took significant criticism for her handling of the CHAZ/CHOP this summer. She initially downplayed the whole thing as a “block party” but finally pushed to restore order after five people were shot in the vicinity.

During the debate of CHOP, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best was the loudest voice pushing to get police back into the area. Initially, Durkan seemed to be against that. Chief Best eventually resigned after her own conflict with the City Council. Specifically, Best was publicly critical of the Council’s plan to defund the police, a move which she said would have forced her to fire some of the most recently hired and most diverse officers in the Seattle PD. City Council member Lisa Herbold responded by suggesting that Best lay people off by race, something that Best (rightly) said was illegal. In reaction to this criticism from the Chief, the Council voted to cut Best’s salary and that of all of her command staff. That was the last straw.

In an opinion piece for Fox News, Seattle radio host Jason Rantz predicted this would accelerate Seattle’s leftward slide:

Progressive and socialist leaders, like city councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda and King County Executive Dow Constantine, have already laid the groundwork to appeal to the activist class.

I’ve reported for almost a year that Mosqueda was planning a run for mayor. Almost immediately after Monday’s announcement, Constantine’s name started to pop up (though he’s waiting to see if Governor Jay Inslee resigns to take a role in a Joe Biden administration).

Both have helped steer the region hard to the left…

The frightening reality is that with any one of these voices in a position of greater power, with a city council on their side, there’s no telling what could happen to this once-great city.

Here’s a King 5 interview with the Mayor about her decision.