Murray drops out of Seattle mayor's race

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces he is not seeking reelection during a press conference in West Seattle on May 9, 2017 (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE -- Dogged by allegations of sexual abuse, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Tuesday that he will not run for a second term.

The one-term Seattle mayor announced his decision at the Alki Bathhouse Tuesday morning amid growing speculation that he would end his re-election bid.

"It tears me to pieces to step away but I believe it's in the best interest of this city that I love," Murray said.

He said that the allegations of sex abuse would dominate the election campaign and not the important issues facing the city.

"This campaign for mayor, any campaign for mayor, must be about the future of this city," he said

"The mayor's race must be focused on these issues, not on a scandal, which it would be focused on if I were to remain in this race."

Murray again flatly denied the allegations.

"The allegations against me are not true, and I say this with all honesty and with the deepest sincerity," Murray said. "But the scandal surrounding them and me is hurting this city."

Just after his announcement, he sent this tweet:

Murray, who intends to serve out the rest of his term, seemed almost certain of re-election little more than a month ago.

More candidates are filling the void left by Murray. State Sen. Bob Hasegawa announced for mayor Tuesday afternoon. And KOMO NewsRadio confirmed that Jenny Durkin, former U.S. attorney in Seattle, will announce her candidacy later this week.

RELATED | A look at Ed Murray's political career.

Murray's prospects tumbled after a lawsuit that accused him of having sex with a minor years before was filed. That lawsuit, and the developments that have resulted, have followed Murray for weeks.

For weeks, Murray has been defiant, denying the allegations and saying that he intended to run for a second term.

Murray, 62, faced sexual abuse allegations that he paid to have sex with at least one local man during the 1980's.

That man, who has come forward publicly as 46-year-old Delvonn Heckard, is seeking financial damages, accusing Murray of child sex abuse and prostitution.

According to the civil complaint filed in King County Superior Court, the man said he was 15 when he met Murray. The then-teen was homeless and his parents were addicted to drugs, he had recently dropped out of high school, the complaint said.

The alleged victim said Murray paid him anywhere from $10 to $20 for sex, the complaint said.

Heckard says the mayor's decision to drop his re-election bid is a step toward justice and truth.

That's according to Heckard's lawyer, Lincoln Beauregard.

Beauregard said in a statement Heckard called the entire situation unfortunate.

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