In a press release Thursday morning announcing his withdrawal, Byrd declared, “I am …blessed with good health and to be a part of a strong and contributing community business,” thereby discounting as factors in his decision a bout with colon cancer some years ago or speculation in the business press concerning the effect of the recession on the Bank of Barlett.
Nor did Byrd, in his statement, mention a possible candidacy by interim county mayor Joe Ford as bearing on his decision.
Byrd was considered by many to be the favorite in the developing Democratic field. The remaining prospects are Ford and Shelby County commissioner Deidre Malone. No major Republican figure has yet declared for county mayor.
Byrd’s statement, in its entirely:
AFTER MUCH DELIBERATION, I HAVE DECIDED TO WITHDRAW MY NAME AS A POSSIBLE CANDIDATE FOR SHELBY COUNTY MAYOR FOR THE 2010 ELECTION.
MY LIFE HAS BEEN GREATLY BLESSED WITH A STRONG, LOVING & SUPPORTIVE FAMILY AND A LEGION OF CLOSE FRIENDS. THROUGHOUT MY YEARS IN ELECTED OFFICE AND COMMUNITY ENDEAVORS, MY FAMILY & FRIENDS HAVE SELFLESSLY, GENEROUSLY, AND CONTINUALLY GIVEN THEIR TIME, EFFORTS, AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT ON MY BEHALF. MY ELECTION AT AN EARLY AGE TO THE TENNESSEE STATE LEGISLATURE AND YEARS OF ACTIVE COMMUNITY SERVICE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE OTHERWISE. I AM ALSO BLESSED WITH GOOD HEALTH AND TO BE A PART OF A STRONG & CONTRIBUTING COMMUNITY BUSINESS.
THE ENCOURAGEMENT I HAVE RECEIVED REGARDING A MAYORAL CANDIDACY HAS BEEN HEARTWARMING & OVERWHELMING. THAT HAS MADE MY DECISION TO FOREGO A RACE AT THIS TIME AN EVEN MORE AGONIZING ONE. HOWEVER, THE PERSONAL & ECONOMIC SACRIFICES REQUIRED ARE NOT PRUDENT FOR MYSELF PERSONALLY OR MY FAMILY AT THIS TIME. IT HAS BEEN A LIFELONG PASSION & JOURNEY TO BE A COALESCING & PIVOTAL FORCE FOR PROGRESS IN EDUCATION, RACIAL HARMONY, & ECONOMIC PROGRESS.
THAT PASSION & JOURNEY WILL CONTINUE BUT AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN RATHER THAN AS AN ELECTED OFFICIAL.