District 7 City Council member John Muhammad announced Saturday that he will not be running for the seat in 2024.
In a post on his website, D7speaks.com, that he sent to the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday, Muhammad wrote that he has “come to the realization that my passion for serving the community can be better channeled as a private citizen.”
“I want to assure you that my decision is not a reflection of a lack of commitment or dedication,” he wrote. “On the contrary, it stems from a sincere belief that my skills and efforts can be more impactful outside the realm of elected office. I remain steadfast in my commitment to being an asset and a resource for whomever the voters choose as the District 7 representative.”
Muhammad did not respond to a call and text message requesting comment. In a Facebook post, he wrote that he would “discuss the path forward” on the Tampa Bay Breakfast Club, aired on 99.1 FM, at 8 a.m. Monday.
Muhammad has long been a community activist. He was the president of the Childs Park Neighborhood Association and has done work for Florida Rising, a statewide organization that seeks to build political power among historically marginalized communities.
He wrote in his post that he was planning to run for the District 7 seat two weeks before the seat was vacated by Wheeler-Bowman, and that his time on the dais “has allowed me to gain invaluable insights into the intricacies of governance and running our city.”
“At the time of my appointment, I had every intention of running for the seat, and I deeply appreciate the confidence you placed in me,” Muhammad wrote. “However, after being blessed with the opportunity to serve, I have come to the conclusion that stepping back from the race will allow me to give my undivided attention to completing the work I started during my term; while also working with you all to develop a Community led agenda that is in the best interest of the community.”
Two candidates have filed for the District 7 seat, which represents the neighborhoods of Childs Park, Jordan Park, United Central and Bayview. They are Donald Bowens Jr., a former St. Petersburg High School and North Carolina State University football star, and former City Council member Wengay Newton.
The council considered Newton in 2022 to replace Wheeler-Bowman but ultimately appointed Muhammad. The council was divided over Muhammad’s appointment after Jewish groups called out his support of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as an antisemite.
Muhammad’s appointed term will end in January 2025.