Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin says she will not run for re-election

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin says she will not run for re-election
Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin announced on Tuesday that she will not run for re-election in November.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin announced on Tuesday that she will not run for re-election in November.

In an eight-and-a-half-minute video posted to YouTube, she delved into the nuance behind her decision to leave city government after first taking office as a city councilor in 2007.

Baldwin revealed in the video that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2023. She said the cancer was caught early, and successful surgery gave her a great outlook.

"I was one of the lucky ones," Baldwin said. "Mine was caught in stage one. My surgery and follow-up radiation was successful."

That health scare initially made her more dedicated to running for re-election. However, then her husband had complications with open-heart surgery, and their beloved dog was hospitalized.

She said those events made life more stressful and left her wondering how much more she could take.

She said her head and her heart conflicted with each other about what to do.

Ultimately, she decided she was ready to wrap up her time as Raleigh's mayor.

"It's time to devote my energy to myself and my family and find other ways to serve," she said. "So after all the activity with my heart and all the thinking with my head, I've decided that I will not be a candidate for re-election as your mayor this year."

She also announced that she had another job lined up as the Executive Director of the Cooper Charitable Foundation. She said in that job she would be able to pursue her passion of getting people into stable housing and preventing them from losing their homes.

"Raleigh residents, I thank you for believing in me; for supporting my vision for our city; for helping Raleigh grow, while still keeping our small-town charm and culture," she said.

Baldwin served five terms on the Raleigh City Council before being elected mayor in 2019. She will finish out her current term.

"I moved to Raleigh in 1988. It was a very different city then," Baldwin said.

Baldwin played a key role in Raleigh's growth and the efforts to revitalize downtown.

When she took office as mayor in 2019 - she was faced with challenges no one saw coming.

She dealt with the aftermath of the George Floyd saga and subsequent civil unrest, as well as the work-from-home era that would have a major effect on downtown business.

Though Baldwin is seen as a bit of a polarizing presence in Raleigh city government, she never lost an election, running for city council five times, and mayor twice.

"I want to thank you, the people of Raleigh, for the faith and the confidence you've shown in me," Baldwin said.

As for what's next for the mayor's office, Baldwin said she looked forward to seeing who steps forward.

"We need to support candidates who have experience in government and have to know how to keep Raleigh moving forward," she said.

A few people have said they plan to run in November, most notably, Raleigh city councilmember Corey Branch and Dix Park Conservancy CEO Janet Cowell.

ABC11 spoke with Branch who said his thoughts and prayers are with Baldwin and her family. He also said that the governing body will continue their work to implement the growth plan that Baldwin has laid out.

"We're still governing. I think right now we will continue to work and govern, she's still the mayor. She's Mayor until December. So what the people decide in November, we will definitely go with that decision," he said.

ABC11 has reached out to Cowell as well as other members of city council and have not heard back.