Anti-gun Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s political career ends Wednesday at 5 p.m. after a fifth allegation of sex abuse against minors was reported by the Seattle Times, this one involving a cousin in New York, where Murray lived for a time decades ago.
Liberal Democrat Murray, the openly-gay politician who spent several years in the Washington Legislature, first in the House and then in the Senate, steadfastly denies the allegations. According to KING, the local NBC affiliate, Murray said in a statement, “While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our City government to conduct the public’s business.”
Murray blamed “bad blood” between family factions for this new allegation. Earlier, he claimed that the accusations were politically motivated.
The embattled Murray has been fighting sex abuse allegations since earlier this year. At that time, accusers came forward after a lawsuit was filed by one of the now-grown men, accusing Murray of the misconduct when he was living in Oregon. That lawsuit, brought by Delvonn Heckard, was subsequently dropped after Murray decided not to run for re-election this fall.
The cousin, Joseph Dyer, reportedly came forward because of the way Murray had treated his other accusers, according to the Seattle P-I.com. Dyer reportedly was 13 years old at the time, in the 1970s.
As noted by the Associated Press, Murray has not faced criminal charges in relation to these alleged incidents.
Murray’s political career has revolved around gay rights. He was first appointed to the Legislature in what may best be described as a game of political chairs. He had run to replace the late State Sen. Cal Anderson, who was also gay and described by Wikipedia as Murray’s mentor. Murray lost that election to State Rep. Pat Thibaudeau, but was subsequently appointed to fill the seat Thibaudeau vacated when she moved up to the Senate.
Murray was elected to the State Senate in 2006, after Thibaudeau withdrew from the race, Wikipedia reports.
As a lawmaker, Murray supported gun control efforts. He co-sponsored or sponsored at least two efforts to ban so-called “assault weapons.” It was the most recent attempt, about five years ago, that came to a crashing halt when it was revealed that a provision in the proposed law would have allowed warrantless searches of the homes of gun owners by sheriff’s deputies.
As mayor, Murray signed into law a “gun violence tax” ordinance that was unsuccessfully challenged in court by the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation and National Shooting Sports Foundation. That tax is credited by critics with forcing one major gun retailer out of the city already, and another planning to move out.
Murray became mayor in 2013, defeating far left then-Mayor Mike McGinn. When McGinn ran again to regain his former seat earlier this year, he had a dismal finish in the primary. Now the race is between former federal prosecutor Jenny Durkan and activist Cary Moon, both described as “progressives.”
Moon had called on Murray to resign four months ago, but Durkan – whom Murray endorsed – held off until Tuesday to say Murray should step down. Until the fifth allegation surfaced, Murray appeared determined to finish out his term, which would have wrapped up following the November election certification.
Moon’s criticism of Murray is the more blistering. The Seattle Weekly quoted Moon’s written statement: “As a mother I am angry, as a resident of this city I am ashamed…[Murray’s] efforts, as a public official, to demean and belittle his victims is an abuse of the public trust…Claiming the victims are motivated by politics, homophobia, due to a family feud — or suggesting that children shouldn’t be believed — is manipulative and immoral.”
While all of the allegations are about incidents that occurred decades ago, the story has become significant today because of the upcoming election, and as something of an indictment against the far left political tilt in Seattle. KIRO radio commentator Dori Monson called the Murray story “a scathing indictment” of the political left in Seattle.
In his resignation statement, Murray said, “I’m proud of all that I have accomplished over my 19 years in the Legislature, where I was able to pass what were at the time the largest transportation packages in state history, a landmark gay civil rights bill and a historic marriage equality bill.”
Under Murray’s liberal leadership, the city adopted a $15 minimum wage, plus police accountability legislation. A controversial report from the University of Washington, however, criticized the minimum wage, revealing that it actually cost jobs. Murray’s administration scrambled to discredit the report, which was covered extensively by the Seattle Times, Washington Post and New York Times.
The Seattle Times has doggedly pursued the allegations against Murray for several months, since the lawsuit was filed. Throughout that time, Murray has adamantly maintained his innocence and stayed on the job. That changed abruptly with the new allegation from his cousin.