Seattle Mayor Won't Seek Reelection

Decision comes after summer of civil unrest

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D.) / Getty Images
December 7, 2020

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan (D.) will not seek reelection next year, she announced Monday. Durkan said she made the decision to focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic instead of campaigning.

Durkan's decision not to seek a second term also comes less than one week after she signed off on a massive police budget cut. The Seattle City Council passed the cut at the end of November in response to months of anti-police protests.

Durkan and the city council sparred over slashing police spending this summer, with the council originally calling for even more drastic budget cuts than eventually passed. Police chief Carmen Best announced her resignation in September after the council voted for cuts that would lay off 100 cops—which, Durkan said, would hit "the most diverse" class of officers in the city's history.

In the end, however, the mayor applauded the council for taking a "more deliberate and measured approach" with the budget—which slashes 18 percent in funding from the Seattle Police Department.

Durkan has faced criticism on multiple fronts for her handling of anti-police protests this summer.

The Seattle LGBTQ Commission asked Durkan, the city's first openly lesbian mayor, to resign, claiming that "continued human rights abuses" have occurred during her administration.

Dozens of Seattle police officers who left the department this year cited a lack of support from the city's "socialist" council as a major reason for their resignation.

In September, nearly 300 Seattle-area business signed a letter pressuring Durkan to protect them from anti-police rioters, looters, and vandals. In the letter, the businesses demanded increased security and said they felt "ignored" by city officials.

Durkan was elected mayor in November 2017, following the resignation of Ed Murray (D.), who faced multiple criminal allegations.