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Seattle elects first woman mayor in nearly a century

Supporters of Seattle mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan cheer as they hear early results at an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Seattle. Voters were picking a female mayor of the Northwest's largest city for the first time in 90 years, choosing between former U.S. attorney Durkan and community activist Cary Moon. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
November 08, 2017 - 6:19 PM

SEATTLE - The booming liberal city of Seattle will get its first woman mayor since the 1920s after former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan defeated urban planner Cary Moon for the office left open by a sex abuse scandal.

Durkan maintained her 20-point lead Wednesday when a second batch of ballots was tabulated and released in the all mail-in election.

Durkan captured just over 60 per cent of the votes while Moon tallied about 40 per cent.

"While the election results will probably continue to tighten, the outcome is unlikely to be what we hoped," Moon said in a statement.

She said she had offered her congratulations to Durkan.

"I urge her to boldly confront the challenges facing our city and to remember that Seattle's prosperity should provide shared opportunity and success for everyone, not just the wealthy few," Moon said.

The hard work of delivering progress starts today, Durkan said in a statement.

"I am honoured that the voters have given me this great opportunity, but with the honour comes a deep responsibility," she said. "Our city will - and must - come together around the solutions to address the urgent issues facing our city from homelessness to affordability to addressing systemic inequities."

Seattle voters chose between Durkan and Moon to replace former Mayor Ed Murray, who resigned earlier this year amid accusations of sexual abuse.

Because Murray resigned, Durkan will take office as soon as the election is certified in late November, instead of January.

Durkan also had a message Tuesday night for the president of the United States whose policies she opposed during her campaign: "Can I just say, Donald Trump, keep your hands off Seattle."

Durkan will lead the city as it deals with the benefits and drawbacks of an economy that is booming for some but not others as e-commerce giant Amazon expands.

The two-woman matchup came after Murray dropped his re-election efforts amid accusations that he sexually abused several men. Murray denied the allegations.

Murray had been expected to easily win re-election after pushing through increases to the city's minimum wage and emerging as an opponent of Trump, whom Seattle voters overwhelmingly rejected in 2016.

The race between Durkan and Moon centred on how the city will respond to changes largely brought by Amazon, which employs about 40,000 people in Seattle. Housing prices have skyrocketed amid constant complaints about traffic and worries that the poor and middle class are being priced out.

Durkan, who says she was the first openly gay person to become a U.S. attorney, touted her managerial experience as a prosecutor. Moon, meanwhile, who formerly managed her family's manufacturing business, stressed that she's not a politician and focused on her 20 years of activism on transit, waterfront and other city issues.

The race attracted big money with Durkan's support including the city's business and labour establishment. Although it was Durkan's first run for office, the well-connected player in city and state Democratic circles raised nearly $1 million. An independent-expenditure committee working on Durkan's behalf raised some $847,000 to pump into election efforts.

Moon's donations topped $355,000 with over $176,000 coming from her private bank account. An independent-expenditure group for Moon raised over $27,000.

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Associated Press reporter Manuel Valdes contributed to this story.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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