November 8, 2017 at 8:47 am EST | by Chris Johnson
Jenny Durkan elected as first lesbian mayor of Seattle

Jenny Durkan is the first lesbian elected mayor of Seattle. (Photo by Joe Mabel; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license via Wikimedia Commons)

Former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan won a competitive race Tuesday night to become the next mayor of Seattle, making her the city’s first lesbian mayor and Seattle’s first female mayor in nearly a century.

According to the Seattle Times, Durkan won the election by taking 60.6 percent of the vote compared to the 39.4 percent won by her opponent, Cary Moon.

Celebrating her victory with supporters Tuesday night, Durkan said her campaign “was never about any candidate.”

“It wasn’t about me, or anyone else, it was about you, it was about Seattle and the future of Seattle,” Durkan said. “It’s a campaign about what Seattle will be like for that next generation, and you have committed to making it the best Seattle ever.”

Prior to her campaign, Durkan was appointed by former President Obama to serve as U.S. attorney for Western Washington, making her the first openly gay U.S. attorney in the country.

It’s wasn’t so long ago that Seattle had an openly gay mayor. Former Seattle mayor Ed Murray served starting in 2014, but resigned this year on Sept. 13 amid allegations by men he sexually molested them.

The last time Seattle had a woman as mayor was 1926, when Bertha Knight Landes took office and made Seattle the first major U.S. city to have a female mayor. She served a single two-year term.

Durkan will be seated on Nov. 28 when the election results are certified. Currently, there’s only one other openly gay person serving as mayor of a major U.S. city: Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.

Aisha C. Moodie-Mills, CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, commended Durkan in a statement for her win.

“We are thrilled Jenny will become the first lesbian mayor of Seattle – and just the second woman elected to the position,” Moodie-Mills said. “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.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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