Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess, after looking hard at challenging Mayor Nickels this fall, has decided against the race. Once again, the Mayor, despite his poor rankings in the polls, is virtually unchallenged for his third term.
Burgess has only been on the City Council for 15 months, and he says he's still very excited about the issues, like budget reform, he's working on. He also gave as a reason for his decision the timing issue — both his relative inexperience and the late start in taking on a powerful incumbent. He said his wife was "willing" for him to run, but "did not like the tone" and the negativity of the Council election campaign. "My daughters were very gung ho," Burgess admitted.
He then cited two strong factors in his decision. "I find myself more aligned than conflicted with the Mayor on most issues," Burgess said. "The objections go more to style, and running a campaign based on style and personality is not that motivating to me." Secondly, when Burgess reached out to former and natural supporters for his mayoral campaign, he found many of them willing to vote for him and quietly support him but "frozen, afraid of retribution."
The news doubtless comes as a relief to Nickels, who has had a bad week. The Legislature, whose leadership is actively hostile to Nickels and Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis for their bullying style, spent the week in payback mode — shooting down the City's hopes for money for the Mercer Mess and other aspects of the tunnel/Viaduct solution the Mayor is pushing. Nickels' speech to the Downtown Rotary this week, peevishly blaming the Legislature and probably making things worse, went down badly. It made some observers think even the business community (pretty much beholden to the Mayor) might be hoping for a good challenger. That James Donaldson, the former Sonic, is thinking of running for Mayor didn't exactly satisfy their longing.
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