Jenny Durkan has been elected mayor of Seattle, making her the city’s first out lesbian mayor and its first woman mayor since the 1920s.
Durkan won 61 percent of the vote, more than 21 percentage points ahead of her opponent, Cary Moon, The Seattle Times reports.
Durkan is a former federal prosecutor, having been appointed U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington by President Obama in 2009. She had the support of business groups, labor unions, and local and state politicians. Moon, though, had the endorsement of the King County Democrats. Both women are Democrats, but the mayoral race is nonpartisan.
Durkan will take office November 28. Mayor Ed Murray, a gay man, resigned this year after being accused of sexually abusing younger men, allegations he has denied. City Council member Tim Burgess became interim mayor, and Durkan will take over from him.
She was also endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign and Victory Fund. “We are thrilled Jenny will become the first lesbian mayor of Seattle – and just the second woman elected to the position,” said Victory Fund president and CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills in a press release. “Both women and lesbians are severely underrepresented in all levels of government, especially executive positions. While Seattle voters chose Jenny because of her proven track record of leading innovative reforms and fighting for all communities, it is also an undeniably proud moment for the LGBTQ community, which continues to see this strong leader break down barriers.”
The only other out lesbian mayor of a major city is Jackie Biskupski in Salt Lake City.
Durkan ran on a platform of addressing homelessness in Seattle and creating more affordable housing. She also pledged to work for a city income tax.
Cathy Woolard had hoped to become Atlanta’s first lesbian mayor, but results as of 10 p.m. Eastern show her running third among 11 candidates, with 16 percent of the vote, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The top two vote recipients will enter a runoff December 5; as of now the top two are Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood.
And Sophia Hawes-Tingey, hoping to become the first out transgender elected official in Utah, lost her race for mayor of Midvale, a suburb of Salt Lake City. She was trailing Robert Hale, currently a City Council member, by about 20 percentage points Tuesday night, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.