Mayor Steingold will not run for reelection in 2017

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Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold announced on Monday that he will not run for reelection in March, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

Since 2005, Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold has participated in six local elections, seven including his unsuccessful run for Pinellas County circuit court judge in 2012.

As it turned out, eight elections in 12 years was too much for Steingold.

The mayor announced at the conclusion of Monday night’s City Commission meeting that he won’t run for reelection in the city’s upcoming municpial election on March 14, 2017, citing a desire to spend more time with his family, although he did not rule out a return to the political arena in the future.

“A lot of people have been asking me, and I want to go on the record…I have decided not to seek reelection this March,” Steingold said during his Commission Report. “So I won’t be running, and it should be fun watching from the sidelines as the election time heats up.”

“I have been up here since 2005 serving at the privilege of, at the whim of the community,” he continued. “It has been a privilege and an honor, and I’ll save my speech for the night that I’m outgoing. But certainly I have enjoyed every minute of it, even those two o’clock in the morning moments, even a few residents who, I guess, have thrown fire at me. It’s been a great experience and it’s been an honor to serve the citizens of Safety Harbor.”

Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold.

Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold.

The news came as somewhat of a surprise, but not a total shock, to those connected to the city’s political scene.

After winning elections for whole or partial commission and/or mayoral terms in 2005, 06, 07, 08, 2011 and 2014, Steingold has spent much of the past decade-plus as a Safety Harbor lawmaker.

Factor in his day job as an attorney with Tampa firm Maney & Gordon, his participation on numerous volunteer boards, plus youth coaching duties, bicycling and other hobbies, and it’s easy to see how the 55-year-old would be ready for a break.

And with former mayor Joe Ayoub, whom Steingold defeated in the 2014 election by less than 100 votes, declaring his candidacy weeks ago, and current City Commission Janet Hooper planning to challenge Ayoub for the mayor’s seat, it promises to be a crowded field with several contentious issues at the forefront of the 2017 mayoral campaign.

But Steingold said  it wasn’t a fear of debating the issues or running against a couple of formidable opponents that led to his decision, rather a simple desire to spend more quality time with his three school-aged children.

Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold welcomes SPC Riney home.

Mayor Steingold welcomes SPC Timothy Riney home in April 2015.

“I’ve got over 10 years of service to the city of Safety Harbor, and unfortunately, my children have never known me not to be the mayor,” Steingold told Safety Harbor Connect after the meeting. “It really touched my heart recently when I realized two of the three never knew me not to be mayor.”

“So I think it’s time for me to spend some time with my family,” he added. “I’ve had a full plate for many years. However, I will maintain a level of volunteerism with the city and nonprofit organizations. I’m not moving. I’ll maintain an active role in the community.”

Despite his decision to step away, Steingold didn’t rule out a possible return to public office.

“You never know what the future holds,” he said with a slight smile.

“But right now, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family and taking a break.”

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