Local Politics

Raleigh mayor won't seek sixth term

Posted April 26, 2011 5:45 a.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2011 3:50 p.m. EDT

— Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker announced Tuesday that he won't seek a sixth term, saying that it's time for him to pass the baton to a new city leader with new energy and vision.

Who that new leader could be is yet to be determined, but City Councilwoman Nancy McFarlane has scheduled a Wednesday morning news conference to discuss the mayoral race.

The election will be held Oct. 11, 2011.

Meeker said he won't run for any other public office. Instead, he plans to work full-time at the law firm Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein, where he is a partner.

First elected mayor in 2001, he is serving his fifth two-year term. He told reporters Tuesday that he considered not running in the 2009 election.

"Two years ago was not the right time. This country's economy was in collapse, the banks broke, the car companies were bankrupt, our unemployment rate doubled in that time and city revenues were of course declining. So that didn't seem the right time," Meeker said.

In April 2009, he said he decided to run for his fifth term for three main reasons:

  • To take advantage of future economic recovery to lead the city out of the recession.
  • To plan and fund a regional transit system.
  • To establish the Dix Hill campus as a destination park. 

Meeker teared up Tuesday while talking about knocking down the old convention center and opening up Fayetteville Street to traffic in 2006. He said he regrets that the proposed public safety center downtown has stalled over funding concerns.

"(This is) not in any way a farewell or goodbye, because my wife and I will continue to live, we hope, for years and years to come, maybe decades," he said.

He is married to Anne McLaurin, who is a member of the Wake County Board of Education.

Meeker's five terms tie him with the late Avery Upchurch as one of Raleigh’s longest-serving mayors. Upchurch served the city from 1983 to 1993.