Brookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams is dropping out of her re-election campaign, she announced today, citing her family’s health issues.
“I’ve decided to drop out of the race,” Williams said in an interview, explaining that her husband Dick’s recent emergency hip surgery prompted the decision.
“My priority has to be my family, especially my husband of 36 years,” she said. “I couldn’t live with myself if he was still in a walker three months from now and I was out sticking signs in people’s yards…Family first.”
Her husband’s surgery is the latest of several recent family emergencies for Williams, including her own kidney surgery and the death of her mother. Williams also recently canceled the City Council’s annual retreat due to her husband’s emergency.
Challengers Dale Boone and John Ernst remain in the race, and Williams said she is not yet endorsing either candidate.
“Not at this time,” Williams said of a possible endorsement. “I’m just going to remain neutral.
“[There are] two fine candidates,” she said. “Voters have a good choice…I’m anxious for the city to come together in a more united way. I think either John or Dale can probably do that.”
“I have met with John and offered my assistance in the transition,” Williams said, adding she has yet to meet with Boone.
In a written statement, Ernst wished Dick Williams a “speedy recovery” and praised Mayor Williams for “a distinguished career in public service.”
“I look forward to continue working with Rebecca and everyone to make Brookhaven better,” Ernst wrote.
Boone said in an interview that he considers the Williamses to be his “good friends.”
“I wish Mayor Williams the best in her future endeavors, and condolences go out to [Dick with wishes for] his speedy recovery,” Boone said. “Our campaign’s still going to focus on important issues to homeowners and businesses.”
Williams’ name still can be removed from the Nov. 3 ballot, if she provides notice formal soon, according to H. Maxine Daniels, director of the DeKalb County Registration & Elections Department. Williams said she in the process of filing that notice.
Williams’ decision not to run again guarantees another leadership turnover for the young city of Brookhaven, which will have its third mayor in three years. Williams was named mayor by the City Council earlier this year after J. Max Davis resigned to run for the state House of Representatives.
Williams emphasized she will continue to focus on serving as mayor.
“There’s a lot do in the next three months,” she said. “I’ve got a lot do as mayor. I’m not resigning…I’m going to finish strong.”
Williams also will remain active in the city after she leaves office next year, she said, working on “pet projects.”