INDIANAPOLIS -- A well-known Indianapolis pastor has decided not to run for mayor, despite an independent effort to get him on the ballot.
Rev. Charles Harrison confirmed to WFYI Wednesday morning that he is not running, saying his family and parish are more important. A formal statement is expected later in the day.
That will leave the race for mayor to two major-party candidates.
Harrison is the pastor of Barnes United Methodist Church, located on Indianapolis' northwest side, one of the city's most crime-ridden neighborhoods. He is a leading member of the Ten Point Coaltion, a faith-based organization working to reduce violence.
This was the second time Harrison flirted with a run for the city's top elected post. He briefly formed an exploratory committee in December, but closed it while Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams, a close friend, briefly mounted a candidacy.
A petition earlier this summer collected enough signatures to get Harrison on the ballot as an independent, but Harrison did not file the subsequent paperwork. The deadline to do that is noon Wednesday.
Harrison has a wife and two young daughters. He told WFYI the timing to run for mayor wasn't right. "I want to be a part of their life" and not have them "grow up to resent me," Harrison said Tuesday of his eight and nine-year-old children.
In an interview last week, Harrison has this to say about his contemplation on running: "The voice of the less fortunate in this city is not being heard. And I think a lot of people want to see a mayor that’s going to put the people first, above politics," Harrison said.
The race to replace Greg Ballard, the two-term Republican not running for a third term, to former prosecutor Joe Hogsett, the Democrat, and Republican newcomer Chuck Brewer.
Hogsett sent out the following statement:
“My friend Charles Harrison is deeply invested in this city and has dedicated his life to promoting peace on our streets. As federal prosecutor, I saw first-hand the impact his efforts have had in neighborhoods across our city. Whether through his shepherdship of Barnes United Methodist Church or the impactful work of the Ten Point Coalition, I am confident that Reverend Harrison will continue to play an important role in discussions as to how we can make Indianapolis a safer, stronger city for all.”
And a statement from Brewer:
"I have incredible respect for Rev. Charles Harrison and he would have been a great competitor. I hope to sit down with Rev. Harrison soon to discuss his ideas for our city to ensure that his important voice is still included in the debate. Additionally, I call on Joe Hogsett to join me in pledging continued support for the Ten Point Coalition and their valuable work in our city for years to come."