Jenny Durkan elected mayor of Seattle, first woman to hold the office since 1926
SEATTLE (AP) — Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan has defeated urban planner Cary Moon to give the booming city of Seattle its first female mayor since the 1920s.
Durkan maintained her 20-point lead Wednesday when a second batch of ballots was tabulated and released in the all mail-in election. Durkan captured just over 60 percent of the votes while Moon tallied about 40 percent.
Moon conceded in a written statement issued about an hour after the second round of vote results were released Wednesday afternoon.”I have offered my congratulations to Jenny Durkan, Seattle’s first woman mayor in 90 years,” Moon said. “I urge her to boldly confront the challenges facing our city and to remember that Seattle’s prosperity should provide shared opportunity and success for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
“To our supporters who may feel disappointed, I feel disappointed too. But I will not let the future of our city be sunk by status quo thinking and politics as usual. There is too much at stake. That is why I ask you to join me in making sure the promises made during this campaign are actualized.”
Durkan issued a written statement later: “I want to congratulate Cary Moon on the strong race that she’s run and the ideas she brought to the table. … I am honored that the voters have given me this great opportunity, but with the honor comes a deep responsibility. The hard work of delivering progress starts today. Our city will – and must – come together around the solutions to address the urgent issues facing our city from homelessness to affordability to addressing systemic inequities. Over the next few weeks, I look forward to working closely with Mayor Burgess and the City Council as well as city officials and workers to ensure a smooth transition.”
Seattle voters chose between Durkan and Moon to replace former Mayor Ed Murray, who resigned earlier this year amid accusations of sexual abuse.
Because Murray resigned, Durkan will take office as soon as the election is certified in late November, instead of January.
Tim Burgess was elected temporary mayor by the Seattle City Council until the election is certified. On Wednesday afternoon, he issued the following tweet:
Durkan gave a thinly veiled victory speech Tuesday night.
"So The Seattle Times has called the race," a beaming Durkan said to cheers from her supporters. "I know there's a lot of votes to be counted. But I have to tell you, we are feeling really, really good about where we are ... and I think you guys should celebrate."
There were only two candidates on the ballot.
Cary Moon issued the following statement Tuesday night:
"We are up against tough odds. Campaign spending for our opponent broke city election records, outspending us by more than 3:1. The Chamber of Commerce funneled hundreds of thousands on behalf of Comcast, CenturyLink, AT&T, Amazon and others into a no-limit PAC for our opponent.
"But Seattle late voters may surprise everyone. We believe the ballot counts will swing in our direction over time, and we’re not out of the race yet.
"Seattle’s voters won’t let the future of our city be sunk by status quo thinking and politics as usual. There is too much at stake. We look forward to the next few days of ballot returns. Thank you all."
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.
Seattle's first female mayor, Bertha Knight Landes, was elected in 1926.