“It tears me to pieces to step away,” Seattle Murray Ed Murray said as he addressed the media Tuesday morning at Alki Beach Bathhouse in West Seattle.
And with that, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced he will not be running for re-election in 2018. The out gay mayor said his intention now is to finish out the remainder of his term, which concludes at the end of 2017.
“I’m thankful for all we’ve achieved together. But we must look to the future and what’s best for the city we love,” Murray said.
His announcement follows a handful of sexual assault allegations and a loss of support for his re-election campaign.
Murray said the allegations “paint me in the worst possible historic portrait of a gay man.”
During his televised announcement, Murray was surrounded by political allies, family members – including partner of 26 years Michael Shiosaki (the two were legally married in 2013) – and members of the LGBT community.
Murray previously denied the sexual assault allegations, saying ““Let me be clear: These allegations dating back to more than a period of 30 years are simply not true,” he said. “I will not back down now. I will continue to be mayor of this city. I will continue to run for re-election, and I plan to lead this city as we work our way through the wind and rain storm of this weekend as well as the many challenges we face going forward.”
But his tone took a different turn Tuesday morning.
“The mayoral race must be focused on the urgent, important issues facing our city, but those are being overshadowed by the false allegations against me, which have hurt the City, my family and Michael,” Murray said. “As a poor kid from Alki, being mayor of this city has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I am proud to have been part of some remarkable achievements that, for my entire life, people told me would never happen – from the civil rights bill to the ring I wear on my finger – and I plan to continue fighting for equity long after I am mayor. To the people of Seattle, thank you for the opportunity to serve you and this great city for more than two decades.”
Elected as Seattle’s 53rd mayor, Murray kicked off his term by bringing business, workers and advocates together to implement the nation’s first $15 minimum wage in a major city. Murray put the City on course to historic police accountability reform, hiring Chief Kathleen O’Toole and working with DOJ and the federal court to address critical issues in the Consent Decree. And after the election of Donald Trump, Murray made Seattle the center of the resistance, declaring Seattle would remain an inclusive, welcoming, Constitutional City, where all residents would have access to city services.
Murray has committed more than two decades of public service to Seattle’s LBGT community, where he spearheaded the LGBT civil rights bill and marriage equality as a state legislator.
The Seattle mayoral race is heating up. About a dozen candidates are already running, including former mayor Mike McGinn, activist Nikkita Oliver, State Sen. Bob Hasegawa, and others. Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan is also expected to enter the race.