Charleston City Councilman Tim Mallard announced Tuesday he would not be seeking re-election this fall, putting an abrupt end to his campaign for the West Ashley seat on the 12-member council.
Mallard's departure leaves the seat open to retired auditor Bill Moody, marketing consultant and political columnist Andy Brack, and anyone else who wants to step in. Mallard says he made the announcement as soon as possible after he had decided not to run.
"I wanted to give anybody else an opportunity to get in who might not have gotten in if they had the same philosophy I had," Mallard says.
There had been rumblings in political circles that Mallard, a frequent critic of Mayor Joe Riley, might challenge the mayor for his position this year, but Mallard says he is stepping down to take a business opportunity.
"Who wouldn't want to be mayor of the city of Charleston?" Mallard says. "That is certainly something I've thought about all my life growing up, but there are other things where I feel like I could make a contribution at the county or state level."
In his remaining six months in office, Mallard does not plan to be a sitting duck. He's got his eyes on small projects around the district, including speed humps, ditches, public land cleanup, and sidewalks. The job is not glitzy, he says, and it means constantly e-mailing and reminding city departments to prioritize work in his district.
Mallard says he is proud to have helped bring a Harris Teeter grocery store to West Ashley. He also says he "gave the suburbs a voice." Looking forward, he hopes city government will consolidate services, including garbage pickup, with other cities and the county.
As for the person filling his seat on council, he says both of the contenders are good men. Previously, he says, constituents have raised the issue of Brack having an unfair platform for election through his blog and regular columns in West Of.
Whoever wins, Mallard hopes the next District 11 councilman will "speak out and speak up and not be a potted plant, push for transparency, tell the constituents where their tax dollars are being spent, and make sure that the district gets its fair share of the dollars they put in."