Dallas Mayor Leppert Won't Seek Second Term

Monday, Jan 17, 2011  |  Updated 6:14 PM CDT
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<a title=Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert talked about the timing of his decision to announce he would not seek a second term during the city's MLK Parade Monday, but wouldn't discuss if he would run for Senate." />

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Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert talked about the timing of his decision to announce he would not seek a second term during the city's MLK Parade Monday, but wouldn't discuss if he would run for Senate.

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Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace GOP U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, announced Monday he will not seek a second term leading the city of nearly 1.3 million.

Leppert, a Republican who has been mayor of Dallas since 2007, did not specify his future political plans in a statement provided to the media, posted on social networking sites and e-mailed to thousands of his supporters.

In an interview with The Associated Press, he declined to say whether he would run for Senate.

"I'm going to look at those," said Leppert, when asked about his future plans. There are some real opportunities to add value on a state and national level, he added.

"Every single day I come out and give 110 percent," said Leppert. "We'll just have to see where some of these things go."

Dallas voters elect a new mayor May 14.

Hutchison announced last week that she would not run for re-election in 2012. She failed in her 2010 bid to unseat GOP Gov. Rick Perry.

"Over the next few weeks, with much thought and prayer, I will lay out how I can best serve the people of Dallas, North Texas and indeed the entire state of Texas," Leppert said in the statement.

Leppert added almost 600 officers to the Dallas police force, reduced crime, built a strong economy through development, improved education and created "a more civil and transparent government" at city hall, according to his statement. The former construction company CEO also passed ethics, lobbying and campaign finance reforms during his mayoral term, the statement said.

Leppert, 56, drew attention in December after wrecking while riding his bicycle and breaking a couple of ribs. He was wearing a helmet.

Hutchison, 67, was first elected to the Senate in 1993.

GOP Lt. David Dewhurst, who won re-election in November and will be sworn in Tuesday, has said he is considering entering the U.S. Senate race.

On the Democratic side, former Houston Mayor Bill White, who failed in his 2010 run for governor, and former congressman and current U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk of Dallas are potential contenders.

Leppert planned to be in Austin for the inauguration of Perry and Dewhurst.

Possible Leppert Successors

So who would take Mayor Tom Leppert's place as mayor? Some big names in Dallas politics are already surfacing as possible contenders.

Dallas Councilmember Ron Natinsky said Monday that he will run for Mayor. "I'm going to put together a message that I think will appeal to the whole city. We've got to keep our economic and our jobs issue moving forward," Natinsky said.

Councilman Dwaine Caraway said he will decide by next week whether to jump on another mayoral candidate's bandwagon or roll out his own campaign.

"My decision will impact that race and I want to make sure that our needs and our concerns in the Southern Sector are addressed," Caraway said.

Dallas Councilmember Angela Hunt has said that she is considering the mayor's race.

Dallas Attorney Jim Moore has a website announcing that he is a candidate for mayor.

Several business people are said to be considering campaigns.

The one month filing period begins in February for the May election.

Leppert's announcement leaves candidates a very short time to raise contributions and reach out to voters for a city-wide campaign.

"If you want to run for Mayor, you need to make that announcement and get out there and run it full time," Dallas Councilman Tennell Atkins said.

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