Seattle City Council candidate drops out, cites threats from 'activists'

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Police Department Investigations Bureau is looking into allegations of threats against the wife and child of a Seattle City Council candidate, according to email threads obtained by Q13 News.

In a message to supporters Wednesday, Christopher Rufo announced he would suspend his campaign, citing online threats against his family:

“I had hoped that this would be a campaign of ideas, but I quickly discovered that the activists in this city have no interest in ideas. Since the campaign launch, they have harassed and threatened my family non-stop. I was prepared to take the heat, but unfortunately, they have focused their hatred on my wife and children. They’ve made vile racist attacks against my wife, attempted to get her fired from Microsoft, and threatened sexual violence. They've even posted hateful comments on our 8-year-old son's school Facebook page. I know that as the race progresses, the activists will ratchet up their hate-machine and these attacks will intensify significantly.”

In September, Rufo announced he would challenge City Councilman Mike O’Brien for the District 6 seat, which represents the Northwest Seattle neighborhoods of Ballard, Fremont, and Green Lake.

Rufo, a documentary filmmaker, seized on a growing feeling among working-class households that City Hall cared more about the voice of activists than regular families. He pledged to clean up the streets and find solutions to the homeless crisis.

“I’m fighting for a city where our kids can run and play in our public spaces,” Rufo said in a campaign video posted to social media. “I’m fighting for a city where blue collar workers don’t have to worry about a tax on jobs. And I’m fighting for a city where everyone has a voice, not just the activist class.”

Following news that Rufo would drop out of the race, Councilman O’Brien posted a statement on his Facebook page, denouncing the alleged threats.

“To my supporters, I hope no one takes pleasure in Mr. Rufo’s decision and joins me in condemning harassment,” he wrote. “Until we eliminate all forms of harassment, our democracy is at risk.”

O’Brien said he hoped Rufo would reconsider if the threats are retracted, but said he understood the decision could not be made lightly.

In his message to supporters, Rufo said he would return all campaign contributions in the coming weeks.

The Seattle Police Department issued the following statement:

“While Mr. Rufo has not yet contacted SPD, we are aware of these concerns, and have attempted to contact him for additional details. Once our investigators have spoken to Mr. Rufo, we will evaluate the information and determine whether or not to move forward with a criminal investigation.”

Q13 News has contacted Rufo to get additional information on the alleged threats. We're still waiting to hear back.