Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess has dropped out of the Seattle mayor’s race.
In a statement released this afternoon — hours before the filing deadline — Burgess said the city needs new and visionary leadership, and expressed concern that having too many candidates in the race might hinder that goal.
“Instead, I will continue to serve this city that I love from my position on the City Council, the most rewarding job of my life,” he said in a statement.
Burgess said in an interview he had been reconsidering his candidacy for about 10 days but only made the decision last night. He said he’d heard from business leaders that he would make an outstanding mayor, but would have trouble getting elected in a field of seven other candidates.
“I realized this was going to be a difficult path. “I did not want to dilute our opportunity to have a new mayor.”
As of last week, Burgess had raised $232,000 for his campaign, more than any other candidate.
In an interview with The Times this week, Burgess talked about his strategy for getting through a crowded primary.
“We’re talking to voters across the city. We have strong support from workers and neighborhood business districts, from people concerned about issues in the police department. I have a lot of support from women who care about children and public education and who care very much about how we protect women from domestic violence and sexual assault,” he said.
“I think we continue to meet people around the city and communicate our message. I think voters are looking for someone they can trust, someone who is competent, someone who has a proven record of bringing people together to get things done.”
State Sen. and mayoral candidate Ed Murray said he was surprised by the move. “It obviously shakes up the race,” he said. “I viewed Tim as a strong, knowledgeable opponent.”
He said he’s not yet sure what Burgess’ departure will mean, but “this does narrow the field and puts more focus on those who remain.”