Former vice mayor and local businessman Mike Scanlon said Thursday that he will not challenge Mayor Jim Gray in this year's mayoral election.
Scanlon, who was vice mayor under Mayor Teresa Isaac from 2002 to 2006, said he thinks that Lexington deserves a "vigorous" and "honest" contest for mayor.
"I am passionate about Lexington and am committed to doing everything in my power to help it reach its greatness," Scanlon said. "Due to personal health reasons, I am not able to make the commitment to the tremendous workload required of a great mayor."
Scanlon did not provide additional details about his health issues.
Scanlon, CEO of Thomas and King, encouraged former Lexington police chief Anthany Beatty to jump in the race.
"I know there is a person in the community who can mount a great campaign and follow through with a great commitment of time and energy to do whatever it takes to do the job," Scanlon said.
Beatty, an assistant vice president of campus services at the University of Kentucky, has been mulling a possible run since February 2013. Beatty has said that he will decide by late next week if he will challenge Gray.
The filing deadline is Jan. 28.
Gray's campaign has pointed to his high approval ratings as one reason why no one has stepped forward to challenge the former CEO of Gray Construction. A poll commissioned by Gray in 2011 showed his approval rating at 77 percent.
Gray's campaign is also flush with cash. According to campaign finance reports filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, Gray has already raised more than $285,000 for the race.
If no one files to run against Gray, he will become the first mayor in nearly 30 years to run unopposed.
Beth Musgrave: (859)231-3205. Twitter: @HLCityhall