Tim Burgess is out as candidate for Seattle mayor. The Seattle councilman, who has raised more money than anyone in the field, made the shocking announcement this afternoon. He offered no real explanation as to why he is abandoning the race. This morning he told Seattle Weekly he was in the midst of retooling his campaign, but gave no indication he was calling it quits.
Burgess never officially filed his papers for candidacy.
Burgess issued the following statement:
“Our city needs new and visionary leadership in the Mayor’s office that truly brings people together to accomplish great things for all of Seattle. I had hoped to provide that leadership as Mayor.
“It is critically important that we elect a new Mayor. However, with so many qualified candidates in the field, my continued candidacy may dilute the chance of achieving the positive change Seattle needs. After much deliberation, I have chosen not to continue as a candidate. 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.
“I will keep working so that our most vulnerable neighbors and families are better cared for, especially our schoolchildren who deserve a great education that prepares them for college and a career. I will continue my work to transform our Police Department, support our officers, ensure public safety and rebuild the public’s trust in their work.
“My family and I reached this decision together after careful reflection. Seattle has been our home all of our lives—Joleen and I have never lived anywhere else. I owe this incredible place so much for all that it has given to me in life.
“I am deeply grateful to all of my supporters from all parts of the city. Thank you for your supprt.”
Burgess, 65, a former Seattle cop and detective, was elected to the council in 2007.
On Tuesday, Burgess fired his campaign spokesman and this morning said he planned additional shakeups.
Though Burgess has raised more than $230,000 since entering the race late last years, he has struggled to gain traction. He has also been criticized for his lackluster performances at candidate forum over the past month.
City elections official Polly Grow says Burgess can do one of three things with the money that he's raised: He can refund contributors, donate it to charity, or roll it over for a future council race if he gets permission from contributors.