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Shirley Scott to retire from City Council next year

There'll be at least one open spot on Tucson's City Council in 2019, along with no incumbent mayor on the ballot and the possibility of other councilmembers seeking the top seat. Shirley Scott won't seek re-election after nearly a quarter-century in office.

The Democrat, first elected in 1995, announced Tuesday that she won't run again. Her sixth term as the Ward 4 councilwoman ends after the November municipal election next year.

"2019 will be my last year in office as I turn my focus to my family," Scott said.

"It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Tucson over the last 23 years as the Ward 4 City of Tucson councilmember," she said.

"Serving on the board of directors of the National League of Cities, spearheading the city of Tucson’s first solar-powered building, championing private and public investments throughout Ward 4, hosting 17 annual Back to School Bash’s, serving as an honorary commander for Davis Monthan Air Force Base, being a champion for public safety, and working with the businesses and citizens of Tucson are some of my most cherished accomplishments during my time in office. I look forward to serving my last year with my esteemed colleagues on the Council."

Scott, who's about to turn 76, was born in Canada and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1965. Her husband of 51 years, Joseph Scott, died in January 2018 at age 78.

Scott won her last election 56-44 percent in the citywide general election, although she lost the tally in her own Ward 4 to Republican Margaret Burkholder. Scott had a narrower election in 2011, eking out a 51-49 win over Tyler Vogt in the citywide count.

With Mayor Jonathan Rothschild announcing that he won't seek another term, Scott's retirement from politics sets up scramble for open seats on the Council dais, which is now occupied by all Democrats. Ward 1 Councilwoman Regina Romero may leave her seat to seek the mayor's office, as may Ward 2 Councilman Paul Cunningham, who expressed early interest but has dialed back his public enthusiasm for a mayoral run. Both would be up for election next year in their current positions.

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Ward 3 Councilman Paul Durham has also said he is interested in running. Durham, first elected in 2017, would have to step down from office to pursue the city's top elected post under the resign-to-run law. Only candidates in the final year of their terms can run to a different office without resigning.

Ward 6 Councilman Steve Kozachik has said he won't resign his seat — he was just re-elected to a four-year term in 2017 — to run for mayor. Ward 5 Councilman Richard Fimbres has also said he'll finish out his term.

State Sen. Steve Farley, who is termed out of office next month, is a Democrat who lost the gubernatorial primary in August. He has also expressed interest in running for mayor.

Former TUSD Governing Board member Mike Hicks, a Republican who just lost a bid to remain in that office, has been widely expected to run for either Scott's seat or file for the mayoral race.

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Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.com

Scott on election night in 2011.