Mayor Ed Murray, now facing a fourth accuser alleging sexual abuse, is showing no signs of slowing down his re-election bid.
Murray held a fundraiser dinner in South Lake Union Wednesday evening, closed to the media. His campaign spokesperson says he has a strong base of support and continued momentum.
However, the Chair of the King County Democrats said the party is divided over the mayor's re-election bid.
“I think this needs to play out in a court of law, but I also think that this is a big distraction. The leaders of Seattle need to weight whether a campaign is appropriate at this point and whether this distraction is going to stop them from governing, and if the answer is yes, and it stops them from governing, then maybe we need a different approach,” said Bailey Stober.
The mayor’s campaign declined an interview on Wednesday, but Murray has categorically denied all allegations brought against him in a civil suit that claims the abuse occurred in the 1980s.
A spokesperson for the election also pointed to a long list of endorsers who have not withdrawn their support.
“I still put my money on this mayor to be re-elected again,” former Seattle Councilmember John Okamoto said. “I’m looking at Mayor Murray’s track record, not just what he’s done as mayor but as a legislator, as a public servant, and I stand behind him.”
The Mayor remains far ahead in fundraising with more than 374,000 raised, as of the last filing deadline. Murray’s campaign said April fundraising now puts his total at more than $408,000. The official fundraising report is expected to be posted next week.
KING 5 has begun reaching out to the Mayor’s long list of supporters and endorsers. While most of our calls and emails have gone unreturned as of Wednesday night, a handful have responded to say their support remains.
“We’re not going to pull an endorsement based on allegations that have not been confirmed,” said Philip Lindquist of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.
Spokespersons for M.L King County Labor Council and UFCW 21 also said their endorsement status has not changed.
“I think he has been dealing with some tough issues head on, including the income tax. I find the allegations just too convenient in a political race,” said architect David Hewitt, a donor to the mayor’s campaign.
Other supporters have responded with “no comment,” or are noticeably silent.
The Seattle Chamber of Commerce's political action committee, known as CASE, has not yet endorsed nor weighed in on the race.
“I think people are finding themselves in a hard spot as to whether they continue to support the mayor or pull out and don’t support the mayor and who the alternative is. That’s still unknown until filing week closes in a couple of weeks,” said Stober.
“There’s several polls going on right now to test name ID as well as strengths and weaknesses of various candidates. I get contacted every other day by either an organization or a candidate or individual who’s considering running,” said Stober.
The filing deadline for candidates is May 19. So far, ten challengers have filed in the race including former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, urban planner Cary Moon, and attorney and organizer Nikkita Oliver.