Seattle Council candidate ends campaign over 'threats of sexual violence' and 'racism'
In a letter to supporters, Chris Rufo wrote, "I quickly discovered that the activists in this city have no interest in ideas."
Christopher Rufo is a documentary filmmaker and self-described “moderate,” who is critical of the city's approach to homelessness.
Rufo is also listed as a fellow at the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank based in Seattle.
He had planned to run for City Council against Mike O'Brien, who represents the 6th City Council District in Northwest Seattle.
On Wednesday, Rufo sent a letter to supporters to tell them he was ending his campaign. Rufo wrote that his “ideas” so enraged critics that they attacked him and his family online.
The alleged harassment included:
· Racist attacks against his wife, Microsoft employee Suphatra Rufo
· Threats of sexual violence
· Attempts to get Suphatra Rufo fired from her job at Microsoft
· Comments on their 8-year-old son's school Facebook page
The following is Rufo’s letter to supporters:
I’m writing to you with a heavy heart. After spending the past two days in discussion with my family, I am terminating my campaign for Seattle City Council.
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 nonstop.
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.
I feel deeply disappointed about this turn of events and hope that I have not disappointed you, too. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support, love, and passion from hundreds of people all over the Puget Sound. I know in my heart that our cause is just and our ideas would make Seattle a better place. But my primary responsibility is to make sure my family is healthy, happy, and safe. That’s not possible in our current political climate, which has been overtaken by polarization and the ever-present threat of violence.
Since I announced my campaign, I’ve learned that our problem here in Seattle is much deeper than the city council’s policies—we have created a culture of intolerance that is deeply destructive to the common good. I plan to spend the next few months reflecting on this experience and charting a way forward in a series of essays. I hope that some positive benefit can come out of this disappointment.
Over the next two weeks, I will be refunding all of our campaign donors and will personally cover the costs incurred since the launch of the campaign. I’m deeply grateful for all of you who have made contributions and hope you can reroute your hard-earned money to other candidates in the city.
I’m going to take a few days with my family, but please reach out if you have any questions. I’m honored to have had your support.