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Glassman quits Tucson City Council to run for Senate

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Rodney Glassman

Glassman quits Tucson City Council to run for Senate

  • Glassman spoke with supporters following his announcement.
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.comGlassman spoke with supporters following his announcement.
  • Rodney Glassman resigns his council seat to run for U.S. Senate.
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.comRodney Glassman resigns his council seat to run for U.S. Senate.
  • Councilmen Fimbres and Kozachik, Rodney Glassman and Mayor Walkup, following Glassman's announcment.
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.comCouncilmen Fimbres and Kozachik, Rodney Glassman and Mayor Walkup, following Glassman's announcment.

Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman resigned Tuesday night to launch his bid for U.S. Senate. He will be the likely Democratic nominee.

"Washington, D.C. is broken, everyone agrees with that. And sending the same individual back there, sending John McCain back for longer than the 28 years he's already been there, doesn't make sense," Glassman said when interviewed just after  his announcement.

"The reality is, if we want to fix Washington, D.C., we need to send a new U.S. senator to Washington, and I'd like to be that representative," said Glassman.

“This was a very serious decision for me. As I traveled across Arizona, I heard a resounding message that (Sen.) John McCain has been in Washington so long that he’s become part of the problem,” Glassman said in a press release. “The families who call Arizona home want a senator who also calls Arizona home – a senator who will put Arizonans first.”

Glassman's bid surprised virtually no one. He told "I'll be the first elected official in 20 years to take on John McCain for U.S. Senate. I'll also be the first candidate endorsed by dozens and dozens of Democratic leaders throughout the state.”

While he's had an official "exploratory committee" for months, Glassman put off a formal announcement until Tuesday. In February, he explained his delayed decision by saying he wanted to concentrate on helping the city navigate its budget difficulties.

Interviewed Tuesday, he said that his next steps are gathering signatures to gain a place on the ballot, and continuing to campaign across the state. Glassman will work to "create a dialogue on the priorities of Arizonans because for decades we have not had somebody in the U.S. Senate leading Arizona and working for Arizona's future," he said.

Huffington Post reported:

"Glassman has political appeal that has drawn attention and support in far-reaching circles. Former DNC Chair Howard Dean told the Huffington Post back in February that he was on his radar, mainly because Glassman had restricted donations to his exploratory committee to a scant $20.

"People should pay attention to him in this atmosphere," Dean said. "If someone is going to run and limit contributions to $20 now and [keep it that low] they can catch on even with Tea Party crowd, which is big in Arizona."

Glassman left his council post to comply with Arizona's resign-to-run law, which requires candidates to vacate elective office if they wish to seek another, except if they are in the final year of their term.

Glassman was in the third year of his four-year term. He was elected in Dec. 2007.

The City Council must now select a replacement for Glassman. Any three-year city resident, who has lived in Ward 2 for at least one year, is qualified. There is no requirement that the council appoint a Democrat to fill the seat.

Incumbent John McCain is locked in a tight Republican primary fight with former Congressman and talk radio host J.D. Hayworth. While Hayworth has polled well with conservative GOPers, a recent survey shows McCain up 15 points on his challenger.

Also seeking the Democratic nomination is Rudy Garcia, the Arizona-born former mayor of Bell Gardens, Calif. Sahuarita businesswoman Nan Stockholm Walden announced Monday that she would not throw her hat into the Democratic primary ring.

The 31-year-old Glassman holds a number of degrees, including an MBA, a law degree and PhD in Arid Land Resource Sciences from the University of Arizona.

Glassman's resignation statement

As you know, I have been exploring a run for U.S. Senate. I committed to staying on the Council through today to help get the budget on track and forward recommendations to the City Manager. Today the Mayor and Council completed sending our budget recommendations. I have confidence in my colleagues to finish the work that we began and forwarded today.

I look forward to building new relationships with each of you as we work together to move Arizona forward. Tonight, though, I just want to express my deepest gratitude to those who have made this city that I love a wonderful home for all of us here tonight.

I would like to say a special thanks to the constituents of Ward 2 who allowed me to serve them.

I also want to say a deep thanks to City Manager Mike Letcher, City Attorney Mike Rankin, and former City Manager Mike Hein, who, along with so many city staff, work tirelessly to make Tucson a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

So many in our community step up to be leaders and volunteer on boards and commissions because they believe in our city and want it to be a better place to call home. I want to say thank you to each and every one of you.

Together, we have accomplished much for the city of Tucson.

I am particularly proud that we were able to enact the nation’s first mandatory commercial rainwater harvesting ordinance, which requires all new commercial buildings to get 50 percent of their landscape water needs from rain water.

We also passed a gray water and solar hot water ordinances, which require all new houses to be plumbed for gray water and solar hot water.

We found ways to safely open up local school yards and playgrounds to be used as neighborhood parks after school hours and on weekends.

We worked together to cut red tape to make it easier for Solar Generating Plants to set up shop in Tucson, bringing in jobs.

With the support of the Tucson Association of Realtors and Tucson Electric Power and city staff, we found a way to get electricity turned on in foreclosed homes to help speed up the sale of our glutted housing stock.

I love this job. I love this city. Tucson will always be my home. Although I am leaving the City Council today with a heavy heart, I know that I am leaving the Council in good, capable hands.

Thank you all. I hereby announce my resignation tonight, effective immediately.

Julia Gordon contributed to this story.

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