Brookhaven City Councilmember Bates Mattison announced Aug. 23 that he has decided not to seek reelection and instead to spend more time with his family.

Brookhaven City Council member Bates Mattison.

The announcement comes as a surprise. Mattison, who represents District 3, has stated for several weeks he planned to seek reelection and told the Reporter only a day earlier in a text message he planned to qualify to run again on Aug. 23, the last day to do so. Mattison has served on the council since the city was incorporated in 2012.

“After discussing it with my family and friends, I have decided not to seek reelection for my City Council seat,” Mattison said in a written statement distributed by the city’s communications department.

“It has been one of my greatest honors to help start the city seven years ago working to represent the citizens of Brookhaven, but I truly want to focus on my family before my children reach college age,” he said. “This has been difficult decision to reach, but I hope you understand my reasoning. I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Brookhaven until the end of my term and thank you all for the confidence and support you’ve given me over the past seven years.”

Two other candidates have qualified to run for District 3: Madeleine Simmons and Dimitrius Owens.

In an interview, Mattison said he made the final decision to not run during dinner with his family on Aug. 22.

“I was all in. Even [Aug. 22] I was ready to sign up and run,” he said. “But at dinner I had a heart-to-heart talk with my wife and children and came to the decision that it was best for our family and for me to allow someone else take the reins in District 3.”

Mattison said he did talk with his campaign consultant about his potential run. No polling was conducted to see where he placed in a field of three, he said. But he said he and the consultant agreed that with three people in the race there would likely a run-off. A run-off election could cost the city tens of thousands of dollars and draw out the election process.

“While this was not a deciding factor for me … not being in the race benefits our city and citizens by not extending that time,” he said.

Mattison said it was “difficult to walk away” from the seat he’s held for nearly seven years. He said he feels comfortable with where the city is and plans to work hard until his term expires in December on issues such as acquiring green space, seeing the Peachtree Creek Greenway open, focusing on bike paths and sidewalks and finding ways to beautify the city.

He also said he looks forward to working with whomever wins the District 3 race.

“There are two candidates and I look forward to having close relationships with whomever wins,” he said. “I’m glad to see the energy and enthusiasm for people who want to serve.”

The election is Nov. 5.

This story has been updated with an interview with Bates Mattison.