Tom Richards is ending his run for re-election as Rochester's Mayor. In a City Hall news conference on Tuesday afternoon (which is posted at the end of this story), Richards, who lost last week's Democratic primary against City Council President Lovely Warren, said his decision is a personal one, because his family has been dealing with a difficult health challenge for one of their family members.
He says that situation has evolved to the point where continuing his campaign is no longer appropriate. Richards could still have run on the Independence and Working Families Party in November.
Instead, he says he will work to support Warren in the general election. She faces Green Party candidate Alex White.
Richards was elected to the post two years ago in a special election when Bob Duffy became Lieutenant Governor.
Lovely Warren issued this statement:
"I want to send my deepest appreciation to Mayor Richards for his words of support. For the last three years, we have shared a passion for serving this city which we both love and are proud to call home. While in the course of the primary election we may have differed about paths and priorities, we have never differed about our feelings of mutual respect. Along with people from across the City, my husband Tim and I send our prayers to the Richards family."
Alex White issued a statement saying:
“I want to thank Tom Richards for his years of service to the city of Rochester,” said White. “And I look forward to returning to the issues as I continue my campaign for mayor.”
Monroe County Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle issued this statement:
"Tom Richards is one of the finest individuals I know and has been an outstanding Mayor. He and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. Our community owes him an enormous debt for his long record of public service. Today is a day to reflect on that service."
Richards complete statement is below:
"I am announcing today that I am ending my campaign for reelection. This is exclusively a personal decision driven by personal circumstances. My family has been dealing for some time with a difficult health challenge for one of our members that has recently evolved to the point where continuing my campaign is no longer appropriate.
My wife Betty and I have unique obligations to the affected branch of our family and that is where we need to devote our attention. I have always tried to weigh my family responsibilities with my civic responsibilities and the desire to continue Rochester's transformation. I am not sure that I have always made the correct decision, but I believe that I am doing so this time.
I believe that my announcement today will, and should mean that Lovely Warren will be elected our next Mayor. I intend to work to make that occur successfully and I urge everyone to do so as well. After the election, my administration will work to assist in the transition. I believe that this is in the best interest of our city.
I will be mayor until the end of the year and I intend to use that time to continue to address our city's transformation.
My announcement today invites speculation about what might have happened before and after today. I am not interested in that speculation, but in moving on from here.
When I came to City Hall - at the request of Mayor Bob Duffy, the last thing I expected was to become Mayor. But I looked at the job in the same spirit that I answered Mayor Duffy's call to join his administration. And that was to help and serve the city that I love.
This is not a job that you finish. It will forever be a work in progress. It is no less so today, there are many important and vital decisions to be made now and in the coming years. Keeping our city solvent and growing in a time when many cities are failing -- is chief among them.
This city has been good to me. It has been good to my family. I tried to use my skills and experience to the benefit of all and to keep us moving in the right direction. I will let others decide what kind of job I did as Mayor. I am deeply grateful to the people who have worked on and contributed to my campaigns, my senior staff and all of the hard working City employees who have made whatever success we have had possible and to the citizens of this great city for giving me the opportunity to be their Mayor. I ask that following the general election, the city support and work hard to help our next Mayor. Our city's future depends on it. Thank you."
Here's video of Tom Richards reading his statement and answering questions from the media: