Mayor Peter Kelly is officially stepping away from elected office.
Kelly made the announcement Tuesday, just minutes before the deadline for candidates to enter the upcoming municipal election. Speculation has been growing that Kelly would run for mayor or councillor.
"Over the last few months, I have had thousands of e-mails, phone calls or face–to–face encounters with citizens encouraging me to reconsider my decision not to re–offer for mayor," Kelly said in a statement. "I have been deeply touched by this show of support and confidence in me and what I have accomplished."
Kelly said his priority right now is the well–being of his family.
"Change should be welcomed because it is both inevitable and necessary for a community to flourish," he said.
Kelly announced in February he wouldn't seek reelection after controversy over his handling of a friend's will.
"Everybody has a shelf life," he said at the time. "I guess I'd like to determine my own rather than be told you've expired."
But Aug. 23 Kelly raised eyebrows when he said 'never say never' about a possible run.
Kelly began his political career in Bedford as a councillor in 1985. He first won the job as mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality in 2000. He was relected in 2004 and 2008.
Monday, two candidates dropped out of the race for mayor. Vince Hall and Matthew Worona both ended their campaigns. Tuesday, three new candidates entered the race. There are now six people vying for the job:
Robert (Wesley) McCormack
Municipal election day is Oct. 20.