A day before candidates begin barnstorming the city in search of signatures to run for elected office, one popular contender in the race for the open East Boston council seat said he is bowing out.
Jack Kelly, a Charlestown resident who considered running to replace retiring Councilor Salvatore LaMattina, said Monday he is no longer competing.
“I don’t want to run,’’ Kelly said. “I just don’t want the job.”
Just a few weeks ago, when LaMattina announced he was stepping down at the end of his term, Kelly seemed very interested in the job to represent District 1, which includes East Boston, the North End, and Charlestown.
“I’ve always had a passion for public service,’’ he said then. “Of course, I’m considering running.”
Kelly now says he has other opportunities he wants to pursue. He is the addiction and mental health policy advisor for Councilor Bill Linehan, who is also leaving the council.
Kelly’s decision comes early in the race, as 50 potential candidates for city council and seven for mayor — including Mayor Martin J. Walsh — have pulled papers to begin collecting signatures for office. Walsh’s major challenger is Councilor Tito Jackson of Grove Hall.
Other possible mayoral contenders include Robert Cappucci and Joseph A. Wiley, both of East Boston, Mary Franklin of Roslindale, Donald M. Osgood Jr. of Dorchester, and Christopher Womack of Hyde Park.
Potential candidates in District 1 are Robert P Pirelli, Carmine Guarino, and Stephen Passacantilli, all of the North End; and Lydia Edwards, Jordan Frias, and Michael A Sinatra, all of East Boston, city election officials said.
Kelly said he will continue working on an app he created that connects addicts in recovery to assistance. He is also considering work as a consultant at a treatment facility or other business ventures, he said.
Kelly, a candidate in the 2013 council race, said he had become disillusioned with politics.
“I’m turned off by it,’’ he acknowledged. “I don’t see the structure as something where I can get a lot done. I feel I can have a better impact by working outside of politics.”
He stressed that he was not offered a job in Walsh’s administration and that he was bowing out of the race on his own terms.
“I want to be clear, I am not leaving because I was offered a job or because I was bullied,’’ said Kelly, adding that he feels he would have been able to get his name on the ballot in the September preliminary contest.
“This is nothing sinister,’’ he said. “In my heart, I don’t want to be a politician.”
He said he told his family and friends about his decision over the weekend, and also told Linehan.
He said he has no regrets, and he wished the other potential candidates well. Council candidates seeking a district seat need up to 200 certified signatures to be on the ballot.Meghan E. Irons can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.