Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden announced Monday she will not run for mayor this year but will seek re-election to her council seat.
Almost simultaneously, former Councilman Farad Ali announced by email he will be a mayoral candidate.
Mayor Bill Bell indicated last year he would be retiring from public life.
Cole-McFadden had been seen as a probable candidate to succeed Bell, and he had said he would have supported her had she run.
After weeks of wrestling with the decision, Cole-McFadden said she had “pretty much” settled on her final decision by the end of last week. She said her experience at the Durham County Democratic Party Convention last weekend sealed her choice.
“I saw some behavior there that really troubled me,” Cole-McFadden said. “And I said to myself ‘I’m glad I’m going home.’”
Cole-McFadden referred to herself as the last “true Durham person” on the City Council.
“I'm a native of Durham,” she said. “So I understand when Durham was doing well, was not doing so well and (have) helped to make to make Durham what it is.”
She added, “When you're the mayor – and I believe I would have won – you, the mayor, have to be supported by the mayor pro tem, just like I supported Mayor Bell.”
Cole-McFadden was first elected to the City Council in 2001.
Ali said via a written release that he had been “fortunate to experience the leadership of” Mayor Bell and Cole-McFadden when he held a seat on the City Council from 2007 to 2011.
“My mentors and friends, Mayor Bill Bell and Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden have led incredible growth in our diverse city,” Ali said.
Councilman Steve Schewel, whose at-large seat isn't up for re-election this year, also plans to run for mayor . Schewel was first elected in 2011.