N in Seattle already mentioned it, but, this is a surprise.
From his botched announcement last November to this abrupt end, Burgess’s campaign never caught the tailwind many expected. He was considered a leading challenger last year—a sort of mayor in waiting, after Mayor McGinn’s two years of floundering—but McGinn seems to have found sea legs at City Hall, and a pack of heavyweight contenders crowded into the race in January and February. In particular, state senator Ed Murray and to a lesser extent Council Member Bruce Harrell have emerged in the race as safe bets for institutional backers that represent downtown business, and, unlike Burgess, can’t be portrayed as conservative outliers (Burgess infamously sponsored a controversial aggressive panhandling bill that failed in 2010).
Burgess has also been unraveling this week.
After the news that the 36th District—Burgess’s home district—would split its endorsement between him and Murray, yesterday came the news from PubliCola that Burgess fired his spokesman. And then the 46th District Democrats, who represent the relatively wealthy, white district of northeast Seattle that seems like Burgess’s base, didn’t endorse him at all. Also the city council’s biggest advocate to bring back the Sonics, Burgess took a blow when the NBA nixed the deal Wednesday.
At the beginning, I’d thought he’d make it through the primary, so that’s obviously yet another Carl Ballard prediction wrong. It also means I won’t have a chance to do a metacommentary on this old Seattle Times op-ed he wrote before he was elected to City Council. And his dropping out this late means we won’t have to deal with some Republicans.