DALLAS — News 8 confirmed Sunday night that Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is calling fellow City Council members and telling them he is not running for reelection in May, according to one Council member who received the courtesy call from Leppert.
Leppert, elected mayor in 2007, is seriously considering running for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary next year after Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said last week she is not seeking reelection in 2012.
In a statement posted on his Web site Monday morning, Leppert said "it is time to explore other ways I can serve the people of Dallas and Texas."
What's unclear, and Leppert and his spokesman were unavailable for comment late Sunday night, is whether Leppert will try to fill out his term that ends in June.
That question was not fully answered in Leppert's statement. "Over the next few weeks, with much thought and prayer, I will explore how I can best serve the people of Dallas, North Texas, and indeed the entire state of Texas," he said.
Under the Dallas City Charter, if a sitting Council member announces the intention to run for any public office other the City Council, the member must resign.
If Leppert announces soon he will seek the Senate seat, he would need to step aside.
Leppert's decision opens the way for a spirited race for mayor in Dallas. Council members Ron Natinsky, Dwaine Caraway and Angela Hunt all told News 8 last week they are considering running.
Other names from the Dallas business community, like Dallas Park Board President Mike Rawlings, may also be mentioned more prominently.
We'll know soon who will be jumping in the race since the filing period opens in February and closes in mid-March. The election is in May.