Steinbrueck will go to Harvard, won't run for Seattle mayor
Peter Steinbrueck, a former Seattle City Councilmember, accepted a design fellowship at Harvard University and won't run for mayor against incumbent Greg Nickels.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Peter Steinbrueck, a former Seattle City Councilmember with a devoted following and his own, fan-built 896-member Facebook page, ended speculation Friday about his mayoral run.
He's not running. He's not even going to be in Seattle next year.
Steinbrueck is accepting a prestigious design fellowship at Harvard University. If he hadn't gotten it and decided to move to Cambridge, Mass., he said, "it's very likely I would have become a mayoral candidate."
Steinbrueck, an architect, left the council in 2007 and started a consulting business. Many critics of the mayor believed Steinbrueck might be able to beat him, and pressure for his candidacy mounted as other potential candidates rejected a run.
His thought process became fodder for political blogs across the city as he mulled a run. One woman even started a Facebook page called "Peter Steinbrueck, for the love of Seattle, RUN FOR MAYOR!"
Two-term incumbent Mayor Greg Nickels has three other challengers, but Steinbrueck said he isn't immediately throwing his support behind any of them. Instead, he'll continue to try to recruit a candidate he thinks has the skills and experience to beat the mayor.
"I am very interested in the effort to bring new leadership to Seattle," he said. "I'll be quite candid about that. Seattle deserves better."
Steinbrueck will move to Cambridge at the end of the summer, and plans to return to Seattle after the academic year.
The Nickels campaign wouldn't comment, but Steinbrueck didn't hold back in his criticism of the mayor.
Steinbrueck said he thinks Nickels is "self-congratulatory" and lacks humility. He said Nickels has been heavy-handed and manipulative by ordering departments not to provide information to the City Council. The current administration's style has alienated other regional governments, he said.
As for the other candidates in the mayoral race — corporate headhunter Norman Sigler, former Sierra Club leader Michael McGinn and former Sonics basketball player James Donaldson — Steinbrueck said none has shown "traction." He questioned whether they had the experience or management skills to run the city.
Steinbrueck acknowledged that he and McGinn share similar views about development and "livable communities," but he said McGinn will have to prove he's not a single-issue candidate.
For those interested in continuing to guess Steinbrueck's future political intentions, he offered this hint about a 2013 mayoral run: "That's entirely possible."
Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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