In a press release this morning, Nancy McFarlane announced she will not seek a fifth term as Raleigh’s mayor.
As recently as two weeks ago, one of the mayor’s key political allies insisted that she was gearing up for a run. But McFarlane has also recently had back surgery, and her husband has been the subject of a controversy surrounding an argument with city council member Kay Crowder.
As The News & Observer reported, Ron McFarlane was seen yelling at and shaking Crowder by the shoulder after a perceived snub during a Dix Park promotional event. Nancy McFarlane said her husband was under stress on account of her surgery.
McFarlane has also frequently found herself in the council’s minority lately, with a dominant pro-neighborhood bloc led by Russ Stephenson and David Cox limiting her ability to move her agenda.
“I am going to focus on the things that really matter to me; my family, the community, the arts and the parks,” McFarlane said in the press release. “Thank you all for your years of support. It has been an honor serving as your mayor.”
McFarlane was first elected to the Raleigh City Council in 2007 and succeeded former mayor Charles Meeker in 2011.
Under her leadership, the press release says, “Raleigh’s reputation as one of the best places to live, work and play in the country has only grown. As mayor, she has led efforts to expand public transit, put more funding toward affordable housing than ever before, update the city’s Unified Development Ordinance, protect our natural resources and environment, support small business and entrepreneurs, champion the arts and was instrumental in the city’s purchase of Dorothea Dix Park—securing the property for development as a world-class destination park to be enjoyed by the public for generations to come.”
The political ramifications of her decision weren’t immediately clear. McFarlane was a favorite to run, despite any recent troubles. She’d easily won all of her campaigns for mayor until 2017, when she defeated Charles Francis 48–37 in the first round, and then 58–42 in the second, a comparatively close result.
In a video announcing her decision, McFarlane blamed recent acrimony on the city council.
“Something else has changed about Raleigh,” she said. “We used to fight together for the things we cared about. Now it seems like we just fight with each other. The mean politics of Twitter and social media is painful when it’s about you or someone that you love. This social disease has exploded since I first ran for city council in 2007. Raleigh politics could use a reset, and I could use some time to think about what I want to do next.”
This is a developing story.