Ed Murray joins this list of U.S. mayors who stepped down in just the last few years over alleged improper behavior.
Ed Murray resigned yesterday from his post as mayor of Seattle after a fifth person stepped forward accusing him of sexual abuse—the latest allegation coming from a younger cousin of his. For that he joins the company of several elected officials who have recently been accused (or confirmed) of sexual impropriety that led to their resignation: former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, former Congressman Matthew Wollman of South Dakota, and former Congressman Mark Lovell of Tennessee.
While it seems that it’s more often politicians from the party of family values (the GOP) who get caught in such affairs, that’s more perception than reality. For Hinda Mandell’s book Sex Scandals, Gender, and Power in Contemporary American Politics, she found that Democrats are slightly more likely to be involved in scandals regarding extramarital affairs with women; they’re also more likely to have scandalous affairs with females. This certainly seems to be the case with mayors, who, when it comes to cities, are more often Democrats than not. Below is a list of mayors who’ve had to resign in recent years for improper behavior:
1) Sacramento, California — Former NBA star Kevin Johnson rode into Sacramento’s city hall taking his turn as a star mayor on the rise in 2008. However, in 2015 he faced a sexual misconduct allegation from a woman from his past, and a sexual harassment accusation from a woman of his present—an aide to his then City Manager. Johnson unceremoniously resigned from his position in December 2016.
2) San Diego, California — Former Mayor Bob Filner resigned in 2013 amid a bevy of sexual harassment complaints from women. Among the racier allegations? The mayor's former press secretary alleged that Filner once asked her to "get naked" and kiss him, and, another time, asked her to work without wearing panties.
3) Corpus Christi, Texas — Dan McQueen resigned after serving just over a month as mayor of the Texas coastal city that was recently clobbered by Hurricane Harvey. The original questions around his leadership were water-related, though not necessarily of his making: During his first week as mayor, a chemical leak into the city’s water supply led to the city’s fourth ban on tap water use in 2016. This began a contentious relationship between McQueen and his city council that culminated with the exposure that his hand-picked chief of staff happened to be his live-in girlfriend, in violation of the city’s employment policy. Fed up with it all, he resigned in January.
4) Fairfax, Virginia — After Scott Silverthorne was busted for offering to trade sex to a methamphetamine dealer, he resigned as mayor. The transaction was caught by detectives who found Silverthorne on a website for casual sex encounters and say he had at least one other relationship through the site.
5) Marionville, Missouri — After the KKK leader Frazier Glenn Miller was convicted of killing three people in April 2014, his buddy Dan Clevenger, Marionville’s mayor, spoke a few words on his behalf. “There [are] some things that are going on in this country that are destroying us. We've got a false economy and it's — some of those corporations are run by Jews because the names are there,” said Mayor Clevenger. Yeah, after that, he had to resign.
6) San Marino, California — This city lost its mayor in July 2014 due to NIMBY problems … of a sort. Former Mayor Dennis Kneier was caught on video scooping up his dog’s poop and tossing it on his neighbor’s lawn. His neighbor obviously was disappointed, but not as disappointed as Kneier was in himself, which is why he relieved himself of his mayoral duties. Police also cited him for littering.
7 & 8) Akron, Ohio — Lebron James’s hometown has the unfortunate distinction of having two mayors who resigned with two weeks of each other earlier this year. The first mayor, Don Plusquellic, who led Akron since 1987, stepped down in May in a seeming fit of rage over how he was being covered in the local newspaper. His successor, Garry Moneypenny, resigned eight days later after being accused of inappropriately touching a woman working for the city.
9) Sanger, California — When Joshua Mitchell resigned from the mayor’s office in June, he said it was because he was white. “The amount of racism that is going on at city hall,” said Mitchell in announcing his resignation, “people being questioned as to their ethnicity.” He was referring to the city council’s attempt to fire the city manager for reasons Mitchell believed had to do with there being not enough Latinos in City Hall. Mitchell further claimed his own whiteness was the reason for a number of acts of vandalism to which he says he was subjected. Meanwhile, a state commission had been investigating him for corruption.
10) Oriental, North Carolina — For the moment, let’s put to the side the fact that there’s a city named Oriental (but yes, and wow). In July, its mayor, Bill Sage, surrendered his post after a state bar probe found evidence that he misappropriated funds.
11) Batesville, Indiana — After serving as mayor for 12 years, Rick Fledderman stepped down in August after he was caught soliciting a sex worker.
12) Hartselle City, Alabama — Remember that whole Ashley Madison hack, which revealed the names of people who’d solicited dating and sexual favors on a website that encourages people to cheat on their partners? Hartselle City Mayor Don Hall was on that list. He resigned this past August.
CORRECTION: This post previously indicated its list included 11 other U.S. mayors who decided to resign. There were 12.