QUINCY — Kyle Moore says he decided not to seek re-election about two weeks ago, but until that point he kept the option open.
The two-term Republican mayor announced Thursday that he would not pursue a third term, providing an open mayoral election for the first time since 2005.
"I was preparing myself either way — to run a campaign, run hard and win," he said. "Because if you're going to run a campaign, and I know what it's like to run a campaign that is difficult, you have to be prepared for it."
His campaign committee was even showing signs of life with $39,500 in contributions since Aug. 23.
Moore also prayed and spoke to his family before reaching a decision.
"Elections are harder on your family than it is on the candidate, and when we had the conversations within my family, we felt pretty comfortable that moving on is a decision that my family was comfortable with, and they were a little bit relieved," he said.
Moore, 39, was elected mayor in 2013 after receiving 56% of the vote over two-term Mayor John Spring, a Democrat. He had served as a 3rd Ward alderman since 2009. He was the first Republican elected mayor since 1981.
He was re-elected in 2017, beating independent 6th Ward Alderman Jeff VanCamp with 53% of the vote.
So far, two candidates — Brandon Koch and Brennan Hills — have already launched campaigns, and at least one more is weighing a run as of Thursday.
Nora Baldner, an assistant professor of communication at Quincy University and former anchor-reporter and news director for several news outlets, said she is considering seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor.
She told The Herald-Whig that she was contacted by several community leaders who encouraged her to run.
"I'm not ready to make a formal announcement, but I'm definitely interested," she said.
Moore said he hoped in the first three years of his second term to recruit a successor, but then he started to gauge interest for a third term. However, he wanted to commit to the two-term promise he made when he first ran for mayor.
He also said he didn't want the next mayoral election to be as divisive as the upcoming presidential election.
"A lot of times people think that being mayor is all about cutting a ribbon, and in reality, you spend a majority of your day telling people no, and that builds up after eight years," he said. "Whether or not people expect that, people know that you're going to make tough decisions, but sometimes I've had people who because I've made a decision against them, they don't support issues that can move Quincy forward. I want the next election to be about ideas that we can have to move us forward."
Moore hopes to support a Republican for mayor, but said that candidates who run for mayor need to have a platform for office.
"When you don't have a platform, you become dictated by the crisis of the moment, and so you really have to have a compelling vision to guide you through a four-year term," he said.
Moore said he had no plans after finishing up his term.
"I'm always going to want to serve the city of Quincy, and it may just be in a private capacity in the nonprofit sector serving on boards and things like that," he said. "This certainly isn't me saying that I'm going to be done advocating for what I believe in for the city of Quincy. I may not do it from an elected capacity."