(BOSTON) — Another long-serving public official will be hanging up his hat: Boston’s longest-serving mayor, Tom Menino, won’t seek a sixth term as head of the Bay State’s capital city.
Menino, 70, has served Boston as the mayor since 1993, when he ascended to the position after then-Mayor Ray Flynn was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican.
A Democrat, Menino was a powerful political figure in the state. He famously stayed out of the hotly contested Warren-Brown Senate race last year until September, less than two months out from Election Day, when he endorsed Democrat Elizabeth Warren. His endorsement was seen as a big get for Warren, a backing that was thought to help her with blue-collar Bostonians.
Menino will make a formal announcement about his retirement Thursday, but he has already vocalized his decision to local media.
“It was a very difficult decision, when you have something you love, that you live 24/7 for the last 20 years,” he told reporters. “It’s tough to say, ‘No,’ but there’s a time and a place for everything.”
Health issues are considered the likely reason for his decision not to run for another term. Polling indicates that the mayor is still popular in his city even 20 years into his job. But Menino was hospitalized for eight weeks in 2012 with a respiratory infection and a blood clot that traveled from his leg to his lung. While in the hospital, he also suffered a spine fracture.
Menino’s retirement opens the door for a fierce fight in Boston’s next mayoral race — a first in many years– but, more importantly, it marks the end of an era in a state that has been experiencing a lot of change within its political ranks as of late.
The Boston Globe summed up Menino’s retirement like this: “It will mark the end of an era, a watershed moment in Boston akin to the retirement of Ted Williams after his two-decade run at Fenway Park.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Gregory Krieg, CNN
Heather Long, CNN
Allie Malloy and Kevin Liptak, CNN