Daron Morris—a career public defender who was the first to challenge King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg, an 11-year incumbent—announced Friday that he is suspending his campaign effective immediately.
Morris in a statement on Twitter said he will no longer campaign due to medical reasons and asked for privacy. He said he was saddened not to continue his race but was proud to have started a public conversation around the role of the prosecutor's office. (Morris missed the King County Elections deadline of May 21 to withdraw his candidacy; his name will appear on the ballot, and voters could ultimately still vote him into office.)
"While I expect to make a full recovery, the present circumstances prevent me from continuing my campaign," Morris said. "I truly believe we had a chance to win, and I am sorry that we are not able to continue on our path."
Morris, a Democrat, has spent 20 years as a public defender, eight of them working for King County. He announced his campaign against Satterberg in May, criticizing the longtime prosecutor for not doing enough to prevent mass incarceration and aggressive responses to lower-level crimes. The two were scheduled for a debate at Seattle University next week.
Satterberg throughout the years has been supported by the surrounding liberal base due to a number of progressive policies—like helping create the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program, which directs low-level crime offenders into community-based services instead of jail. While Satterberg was Republican at the time Morris announced his campaign, the incumbent announced his switch to the Democratic party just two weeks later.
"I hope that the work we have done these last few months, even though left interrupted, will provide some additional voice to individuals and communities who are struggling and striving for justice and fairness," Morris said.
Though Morris was facing an uphill battle, he received over $4,000 in support from the Washington State Democrats, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. He raised a little over $50,000 and spent most of it; Satterberg has more than $150,000 in contributions with about $36,000 left.
Satterberg in a statement said he wished Morris the best in his recovery, and that Morris's campaign provided a chance to educate the public about the office.
"There are only 46 days until election day, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to share the good work of this office in our approach to public safety and criminal justice system innovations," Satterberg said. "I will continue to work to retain the trust and support of the people of King County.”
Updated 2:52pm to add a statement from Satterberg and clarify that Morris will still appear on the ballot.