Will he or won't he? Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is expected to decide next week whether he's getting back into the race for mayor as a write-in candidate.
“I think, as we sit here today, he's probably leaning towards yes, but there are so many factors for him to look at,” said Ron Dotzauer, whose firm Strategies 360 is working on a new poll for the mayor.
“There’s a high probability that we'll be finished by early next week,” Dotzauer said of the poll. “He'll examine that and look at the other aspects. Again, the poll won’t be in and of itself the decision point. It will be part and parcel of other factors that he’ll look at.”
The mayor, speaking earlier in the week, indicated he would also have to consult with his husband before re-entering the race.
“We're still feeling wounded from how the allegations were handled. I just need to spend some time,” said Murray on Wednesday.
The mayor doesn’t have a lot of time to deliberate, though, with the August 1 primary a little more than a month away.
This latest new twist in an ever-evolving mayoral race follows news last week that the civil suit against Murray alleging sexual abuse in the 1980s is being dropped.
His accuser says he wants to wait until the mayor is out of office to pursue the case.
The suit and pending legal battle had already caused Murray to withdraw his re-election bid last month, cutting short his political future.
Since that announcement, the field of mayoral candidates has grown to more than 20 people. A KING 5-KUOW poll out this week found former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan lead the pack as the front runners, so far, with nearly 40 percent of voters surveyed still undecided.
Full coverage of Election 2017 to date
“It's a little bit of wild times,” said Dotzauer, a longtime political strategist.
When asked how the already wild race could change again if the mayor were to re-enter, Dotzauer believes it could impact Durkan, who’s already accrued establishment support from individuals and groups who previously supported the mayor.
“My intuition tells me that he reaches real deep into Jenny Durkan’s pocket of voters,” said Dotzauer. “I think there's a huge overlap between her constituency and his constituency."
However, a write-in campaign poses additional challenges compared to a regular campaign, since voters have to physically write-in a candidate’s name.
The poll currently underway will attempt to answer the question of whether the mayor’s supporters are likely to take that extra step.
“He has high name ID; can he organize well enough that people are willing to write in the name?” asked Dotzauer.
“Even if all the other things line up, is there enough time?” Dotzauer also said. “Can he climb that hill?”
The most high-profile, successful write-in campaign in Washington is probably a 1994 congressional race in southwest Washington in which Republican Linda Smith defeated the Democratic incumbent, according to the Secretary of State Office.
In the city of Seattle, the archives department points to a 1990 election involving a Seattle Municipal Court judge who ran and won a write-in campaign.
The deadline to file as a declared write-in candidate is July 14.
As for whether the suit against Mayor Murray could be re-filed, the attorney for accuser Delvonn Heckard released the following statement to KING 5:
"Delvonn doesn't care about the mayoral race, and never did. The Mayor's decision not to run just helped confirm to Delvonn he was heard. However, Delvonn is angered by the Mayor's claims of vindication, and personal attacks on his lawyers, which could cause him to want to move forward sooner -- let's hope that is not necessary,” wrote attorney Lincoln Beauregard.
© 2017 KING-TV