Rivera said a combination of factors contributed to his decision. Among other things, he said he’s been studying the mayorship and realized he still has a lot to learn.
Rivera, who has four daughters still living at home, also said his family needs to be his primary focus right now.
“It’s really a full-time job with little to no money. It really requires a lot of time. There was so much I needed to learn,” Rivera said.
Rivera, 47, is a retired city fire chief. He was elected as a city councilor for District 3 in 2010. In June, he announced that he was running for mayor.
He said at the time that many longtime Santa Fe residents like himself “feel like our city has lost its focus” and want city government to “focus more on basic needs,” like keeping crime down and fixing potholes.
Rivera cited a City Council resolution proclaiming same-sex marriages as already legal in New Mexico as an example of the governing body’s lack of focus. Rivera, who voted against the bill, said the city spent a lot of time on a subject it had no authority over.
Rivera is withdrawing from one of the most crowded Santa Fe mayoral races in recent history. Contenders include Rivera’s fellow City Councilors Bill Dimas, Patti Bushee, Chris Rivera and Rebecca Wurzburger. Former state Democratic Party chair Javier Gonzales, former Santa Fe County Manager Roman Abeyta, native Santa Fean Margaret Josina Campos and Motel 6 night auditor and independent record producer Michael D’Anna have also announced their candidacies.
Current Mayor David Coss has said he will not seek re-election.
The election season began in earnest Sept. 4 when the city made available candidate packets, which include nominating petition forms and information on public financing. Candidates have until Nov. 2 to collect enough qualifying signatures to run for office. For those running for mayor, that’s half of 1 percent of registered city voters, about 250 names. Mayoral candidates who choose to participate in Santa Fe’s public campaign finance system — something Rivera said he would do — have until Nov. 18 to collect 600 donations of $5 each.
The election will take place in March 2014.