Mayor of North Carolina's capital city won't seek reelection this fall

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The mayor of North Carolina’s capital city announced on Tuesday that she won't seek reelection this fall, citing in part health challenges and mentioning a new job.

Mary-Ann Baldwin, whose time on Raleigh’s city council goes back to 2007, has been mayor since December 2019. Raleigh is North Carolina’s second largest city by population with over 475,000 people.

“It’s time to devote my energies to myself and my family, and to find other ways to serve,” Baldwin said in a video revealing her decision.

Baldwin described a breast cancer diagnosis last year and her husband’s open-heart surgery, along with their dog’s illness, news outlets reported. She said she is cancer-free, her husband is doing well and their dog is recovering.

“These events made life even more stressful, leaving me to wonder how much more I could take,” Baldwin said. “My head and my heart were in conflict.”

Baldwin also started a new role this month as the first executive director of a foundation designed to provide grants to people who can’t cover their monthly expenses.

Baldwin arrived in Raleigh in the late 1980s. She served on the city council until 2017, after which she was elected mayor in 2019. She was reelected in 2022.

Several announced mayoral candidates had emerged before Tuesday, including current council member Corey Branch and Janet Cowell, a former council member and the one-time state treasurer. Candidate filing begins in July.

In the video, Baldwin highlighted her efforts as mayor of the rapidly growing city to encourage affordable housing and to develop downtown’s Warehouse District. She also mentioned the upcoming renovation of PNC Arena — home to the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes and North Carolina State University men's basketball — and the emerging development around it that will inject more private development in west Raleigh.

Baldwin was also at the helm of the city in 2020 at the start of COVID-19 pandemic. And there was criticism over local law enforcement’s handling of the protests that year in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some of the demonstrations resulted in vandalism and damage to downtown businesses.