Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess announced Friday he is leaving the race for Seattle mayor.

It is critically important that we elect a new mayor, said Burgess in a statement. However, with so many qualified candidates in the field, my continued candidacy may dilute the chance of achieving the positive change Seattle needs.

Burgess said he will stay on as a city councilmember.

I would have been a really good mayor, but I'm a good council member too, so that's great, said Burgess, and that's my opportunity to serve.

Burgess pulled the plug at the last minute on the final day to file for mayor.

It was pretty clear to me that this was an uphill battle and rather than dillute the opportunity to elect a new mayor, which I think we need to do, I'm going to step aside and let someone else take the charge, said Burgess.

Burgess started off strong, but struggled with his message. He stumped against pot holes and against Police Chief John Diaz. But that was thwarted when Diaz resigned last month.

Burgess believes he was painted as too conservative.

I don't think they see me as too Republican, 'cause I'm not, but that's the attack, said Burgess.

Burgess fired his campaign spokesman and is closing his Capitol Hill campaign office. He says he will refund his $123,000 campaign war chest.

When asked who he would endorse, Burgess said, I'm not going to endorse anybody at this point.

In a poll conducted by SurveyUSA for KING 5 News in March, 11 percent of registered voters said they would vote for Burgess, putting him only behind current mayor Mike McGinn with 19 percent. Another 34 percent said they were undecided.

KING 5's Linda Brill contributed to this report.

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