Updated Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess on Tuesday became the first high-profile candidate to announce he will challenge Mayor Mike McGinn in the 2013 election.
"We urgently need a leader who can bring people together and get things done," said Burgess, a former Seattle police officer and advertising executive in his second council term.
McGinn and Seattle real-estate broker Charlie Staadecker are the only other candidates who officially have filed for office, but at least eight others, including state Sen. Ed Murray, Councilmember Bruce Harrell and former Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck, have expressed interest in running.
Burgess' entrance into the race had been widely anticipated. The Stranger newspaper, which campaigned for McGinn in 2009, ran a long profile in July with the headline: "Is It Time for Tim Burgess?" The Seattle Weekly, in its Best of Seattle issue, gave Burgess a "Best Mayor in the Making" award and said his five-year, moderate and progressive voting record on the council made him "a good fit for the city's voter profile."
Burgess' announcement did not mention McGinn, and in an interview he avoided direct criticism of the mayor, saying there would be plenty of opportunity over the next 11 months.
McGinn's campaign adviser, John Wyble, said, "We feel like we're in a strong position if the mayor decides he wants to run for re-election." McGinn has filed to run and held fundraisers but said he still hasn't made a final decision.
But Burgess, a Seattle native, did acknowledge several areas of contrast between himself and McGinn.
Burgess has led council efforts ordered by the U.S. Department of Justice to appoint a strong federal monitor to oversee reforms to the Seattle Police Department.
McGinn opposed the council's choice, saying he wanted someone who had the support of the force.
Burgess in February 2011 released a 12-point plan for improving the Police Department, four days after McGinn suggested in a State of the City speech that new police hires reside within the city limits as a way to ensure that they shared the city's values.
Burgess and seven council colleagues supported the deep-bore tunnel to replace the Highway 99 viaduct. McGinn spent his first 18 months in office fighting the tunnel.
"I bring a regional perspective and a history of working well with regional partners. McGinn chose a leadership style that has alienated a lot of people," Burgess said.
Burgess and McGinn also disagreed about the best approach to aggressive panhandling. Burgess supported legislation that would have imposed a $50 fine or community service. McGinn, with the support of the ACLU and homeless advocates, vetoed the bill, saying it criminalized poverty.
"We still have a problem that needs to be addressed," Burgess said.
On the council, Burgess worked to establish a residential care and treatment facility for prostituted children. He cast the decisive fifth vote for paid sick leave, over the objections of the business community. And he urged a doubling in the size of the Families and Education levy, arguing that the program had demonstrated success in raising the achievement of low-income students.
McGinn ran for mayor urging more environmentally friendly alternatives to new highways and streets, and he has championed bike lanes and streetcars. Burgess said his philosophy on transportation is "fix what we have and finish what we've started while planning for the future."
Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @lthompsontimes.
STEVE RINGMAN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
City Councilmember Tim Burgess acknowledged several areas of contrast with Mayor Mike McGinn.