Horning

District 1 Councilman James Horning Jr. is sworn in for his second term on April 22. He announced his resignation on Tuesday.

Newark Councilman James Horning Jr. resigned from his seat Tuesday, just a month into his second term as the District 1 representative.

Horning declined to comment on his reasoning, other than to cite “unexpected personal challenges I need to deal with.”

“I will always reflect fondly on the teamwork and dedication of staff and employees that moved our city forward the past couple of years,” Horning said in a prepared statement. “I am forever grateful to my neighbors in District 1 that entrusted and supported me with this great honor and privilege and I am committed to helping my successor serve our neighbors well.”

City council will hold a special meeting June 1 to set a date for a special election to fill the remainder of Horning’s term, which expires in April 2023. Under city law, the special election must be held within 30 to 60 days of a vacancy.

A lawyer from Nottingham Green, Horning was elected in 2019, defeating four-term incumbent Mark Morehead. He has also served as deputy mayor since August 2020.

Horning’s decision to resign comes just months after he changed his mind about seeking re-election in last month’s election.

In January, he announced he would not seek a second term, citing family circumstances and changes to his job due to the pandemic.

However, he later changed his mind, saying constituents had reached out to him and asked him to reconsider leaving council.

“Without getting into the personal details, there were a few things personally that I had to get past to get me in a clear place,” Horning said in February. “That is kind of behind me at this point.”

He ran unopposed in the April 13 election and was sworn in for his second term April 22.

It was not immediately clear if the same personal challenges he struggled with earlier this year led to his resignation Tuesday, or if new issues arose.

Horning participated in Monday night’s council meeting with no indication that he planned to resign.

Mayor Jerry Clifton said Horning’s resignation is a loss to the city.

“We’re losing a really valued member of the team who is certainly highly respected and valued by not just first district but by neighbors throughout the city and certainly on city council and city staff,” Clifton said. “It’s a huge loss to us. Certainly, we’re going to continue moving forward, but without his expertise, I think the job just got a little harder.”

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