SEATTLE — Ninety-one years after Seattle elected Bertha Knight Landes as mayor, voters on Tuesday will elect a female mayor for the second time.
Voters are choosing between 54-year-old urban planner Cary Moon or 59-year-old former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan to lead this city dealing with the benefits and problems of an economy booming for some more than others as e-commerce giant Amazon expands. They are the only two candidates on the ballot.
The two-woman matchup came after former Mayor Ed Murray dropped his re-election efforts amid accusations of sexual abuse by multiple men. Murray had been expected to easily win re-election after pushing through increases to the city's minimum wage and emerging as a vocal opponent to President Donald Trump, whom Seattle voters overwhelmingly rejected in 2016. Murray, who has denied the allegations, resigned in September after a fifth accuser came forward.
The race between Durkan and Moon has centered on how the city will respond to changes largely brought by Amazon, which employs about 40,000 people in Seattle. Housing prices have skyrocketed amid constant complaints about traffic and worries that the poor and middle class are being priced out.
Durkan, backed by the city's business and labor establishment, has touted her managerial experience as a prosecutor. Moon, meanwhile, who formerly managed her family's manufacturing business, has stressed that she's not a politician and has focused on her 20 years of activism on transit, waterfront and other city issues.
The race has attracted big money with some saying Durkan's fundraising has hit record-breaking levels. Although it's her first run for office, the well-connected player in city and state Democratic circles has raised nearly $1 million. An independent-expenditure committees working on Durkan's behalf has raised nearly $847,000 to pump into election efforts.
Moon's donations have topped $355,000 with over $176,000 coming from her private bank account. An independent-expenditure group for Moon has raised over $27,000.
Because Murray resigned, the winner of the election will take office as soon as the election is certified in late November, instead of January.