Michael Harris, one of two city councilors representing District 4 on Santa Fe's City Council, announced today that he won't seek reelection.
It marks the second time in recent years that an incumbent from that district will leave an open seat.
"My decision is really personal in nature, it truly is," Harris says.
He adds that he and his wife plan to move to another district within the city, which would make him ineligible to hold his current seat. He says he has no plans to run in District 2, where he owns an empty lot and plans to build a house. He also cites health issues, both physical and emotional, and a desire to spend more time with family.
Santa Feans will head to the polls on Nov. 5, the first time the elections will be held in the fall rather than the spring. It also means that ballots will be filled out less than two years after the last election.
Harris says that he will offer guidance to anyone from his district looking to fill his seat, and says he will offer his insight into the campaign process and serving on the council.
"We really do have a lot of talented, good people in District 4," Harris says. "I want to get the word out there, let them think about it for a few weeks."
Beginning May 6, interested candidates can pick up packets that include relevant information and a petition that requires signatures from half of one percent of the total registered voters in their district. In 2018, the requisite number of signatures was 68.
Local fixtures like Meow Wolf, the former campus of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and the area around Siler Road and Rufina Street all inhabit District 4.
Harris' announcement marks the second consecutive election cycle where the District 4 incumbent chose not to run.
In 2018, Councilor Ron Trujillo ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor, forfeiting his District 4 seat in the process. His seat is now filled by Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler.
Harris says that he's proud of his work on the council and what they have accomplished during his time there, particularly in relation to the city's finances. Yet he says he has bittersweet feelings about leaving and plans to continue being active in the matters concerning the city.
"I enjoy the work. I think I've done a good job working on behalf of District 4 and the city of Santa Fe, and in that sense it's difficult to leave."