Barring any last-minute changes Wednesday, Mayor Eileen Weir will be unopposed when she seeks re-election from Independence voters in April 2018.
The deadline to file for next year's municipal elections is 5 p.m. Wednesday, and as of Tuesday afternoon only Weir had filed to run for mayor.
Council Member Chris Whiting announced Tuesday that he would not seek a second full term for his at-large seat. Three people, including incumbent Karen DeLuccie, have filed to run for the two council at-large seats. Mike Huff and Brice Stewart also have filed as candidates at-large. If at least five candidates filed, a primary election in February 2018 would be required. Another citizen, Andrew Worley, had filed to run for mayor but did not have the 250 valid signatures required for candidacy, the city clerk's office said. Worley had not refiled as of Tuesday.
In a prepared statement, Whiting said his decision came after “considerable contemplation” and that serving his lifelong community has been an honor and privilege.
“I've enjoyed doing all I can to help citizens who have reached out to me, and to leave the city better than when I was first elected,” he said. “The past five years have required a lot of patience and understanding from my family as I inevitably missed activities, school functions, sports games and events.”
Whiting also said there's been significant change in his life the past nine months – losing one job, starting another and getting married again.
“I am looking forward to spending more time with my daughters and new wife, and I remain confident the council will continue to move Independence in a positive direction,” he said in the statement. “I will do all I can to make Independence the best place to live, work and raise a family as I finish out my term.”
Whiting joined the council after winning a special election in November 2012 to replace Lucy Young, who had resigned in July. He was re-elected in 2014 and initially planned to run again, he said, even taking out an election packet earlier this year.
“As it got closer to closer (to filing), I started thinking about all the life changes,” Whiting said.
With one daughter in her senior year of high school and another in her sophomore year, Whiting said, he wanted to make sure he didn't miss out on spending time with them before they go to college.
Whiting, who also serves on the Metropolitan Community College Board of Trustees, said he won't be completely out of sight in a city that's been his home for almost 50 years.
“Many thanks to all of my supporters,” he said, “as I look forward to continuing serving Independence as an active citizen.”