UPDATE: Mayor Bob Foster Will Not Seek Third Term; Releases Statement

Following months of speculation that he may run for a third term, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster has officially announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014.

In his official statement announcing his terming out, Foster spoke highly of the progress Long Beach has made during his thus-far seven years as mayor. Citing the largest financial crisis in near a century, Foster says that were it not for the austerity measures put in place, the City would be faced with a large budget gap rather than the surplus in current existence.

And as is common with Foster’s rhetorical flair, he made a reference to the Roman Cincinnatus in regard to his parting:

Most of you know I cannot resist using Roman quotes or analogies; so very much like Cincinnatus in ancient Rome, I believe I was called to public service to lend my talents at a critical juncture. Also, like Cincinnatus, when the crisis has passed and there is a return to more ‘normal’ times, one should, like him, return to private and family pursuits. Thus, it is not without some regret that I announce that I will not seek a third term as your Mayor.

Foster goes on to talk of wants to write, study, and continue to spend time with his close ones–and even talks of admission that he feels unable to provide his full attention to the job.

Many people have urged me to continue and encouraged me that I can do all these things in a final term. I thank each of you for that continued trust and counsel. But in truth, the job of Mayor as I know it requires and deserves full attention and focus. You cannot do the job well if you are distracted by either private pursuits or a vision of the next political office you want to hold. It is my obligation to the people of this great City to make that honest assessment.

Those currently seeking the position include 5th District Councilmember Gerrie Schipske; Damon Dunn, a political independent and real estate investment firm founder; Long Beach City College Trustee, attorney Doug Otto; and two-time 1st District candidate and treasurer of the Willmore Heritage Association, Jana K. Shields.

Foster’s announcement opens the field to other candidates who were awaiting his decision, all of whom will have to file within the next six months before the November deadline.

The decision comes as a surprise to many, particularly after Foster’s exploratory campaign committee recently commissioned a voter poll, results from which showed that if he were to run, he would be the choice of 40% of likely voters. Nearly 70% of voters surveyed also said they have a favorable opinion of Foster.  

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