Late this afternoon, Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess filed paperwork to run for mayor. Political hounds have long considered this inevitable. Burgess’s eight years as a Seattle cop, his reputation as a bellwether on the council, and his generous backing from the downtown business lobby make him a natural challenger to the lefty outsider incumbent, Mayor Mike McGinn.
Add to the mix the city’s collective frustration about ongoing problems with police misconduct during McGinn’s term, and Burgess seems a likely front-runner in the race to command city hall.
But here’s what isn’t as predictable: that Burgess would choose to make his announcement here in The Stranger, a paper that endorsed McGinn in 2009. It’s a paper that often sharply disagrees with Burgess’s establishment base. But if there’s one thing Burgess does well—and there are many things he’s done well since he was first elected in 2007—it’s standing up to his opponents. Giving an advance interview to The Stranger is classic Burgess; it’s his cunning genius to neutralize critics by talking to them. “You guys have been critical, but you’ve endorsed me every time I’ve run for city council,” Burgess explains. “One thing you said in an endorsement a year ago, you said, ‘Gosh, he might actually be a public servant,’ and you cannot have said anything better for me.”
Of course, Burgess also says that giving us this interview “might harm me in the long run.”