Charleston City Councilman Tim Mallard, one of council's most colorful and outspoken members, said he won't seek re-election this fall but expects to return to politics in the future.
Mallard called his 3 1/2 years on council a life-changing experience but said a new business opportunity has arisen that demands his full attention.
He works in industrial real estate development and said the opportunity involves building the area's aerospace cluster.
Occasionally found chomping on an unlit cigar, Mallard's style was more dramatic than many of his 11 colleagues.
"We have a great council, and I certainly wasn't a potted plant that sat there and said, 'That sounds great,' " he said Tuesday. "I tried to push a button for the little guy."
Mallard already had attracted more re-election opposition this year than all other council incumbents combined. Publisher Andy Brack and retired accounting CEO Bill Moody both have announced they plan to run for the District 11 seat, which covers all of the city's portion of Johns Island, the western side of James Island and part of West Ashley, south of Savannah Highway.
Mallard had raised $3,830 toward his bid, including $238 of his own money, between January and March, State Ethics Commission records show. But he also spent a similar amount and had $1,546 on hand as of March 31.
Brack's most recent campaign filing showed he had $1,638 in hand, while Moody reported having $10,381.
Brack said Mallard's exit wouldn't affect his approach to the campaign but added, "It certainly has shaken up some of the assumptions of the race."
Filing for mayor and odd-numbered City Council seats is expected to open next month, and the city's election is set for Nov. 8. Mallard said he is confident there will be another opportunity for him in politics.
Asked if he might seek a County Council seat next year, he replied, "It would certainly be hard to say when the return (date) would be right now. ... I do think there is political life for me in the future, you betcha."