Mayor Rinker's stated reason for not standing for reelection is that she has her eye on higher office and didn't want to leave Cornelius in the lurch by running for Mayor if she was planning on leaving...
“If I’m looking at other options, I just couldn’t tell the people of Cornelius that I’m committing for 2 more years when I may not be,” she said. “That is my personal decision and the way (husband) Mark and I are. I didn’t feel as if I could look people in the eye and ask for their votes, knowing I was leaving.” - from CorneliusNews.net
That's an honorable position, but a somewhat awkward one considering that it almost sounds like a swipe at former Cornelius Mayor and now State Senator, Jeff Tarte, who did just that during the last round of municipal elections elections in Cornelius. Ironically, his quest for higher office which started soon after winning reelection is what put Mayor Rinker in her current office.
However, one also has to wonder if there's more to this decision as mentioned in this piece over at the Huntersville Herald. The Herald reminds readers that Mayor Rinker has been a solid supporter of the I-77 HOT lanes project. She drew attention at the WidenI77.org event at Cornelius Town Hall back in January. (See video of that here: HOT Lane Opponents Pack Cornelius Town Hall (Video)) She also drew some ire after casting the tie-breaking vote throwing the Town's support behind the project. (See Cornelius Commissioner Blasts Town Decision to Support I-77 HOT Lanes for details on that story.)
Adding to this story line is an email received by aShortChronicle where Mayor Rinker strongly pushes back on WidenI77.org and its intention to publish a voter guide stating where candidates stand on the HOT issue. She obviously did not like the idea and made multiple intimidating references to "electioneering" in an attempt to get the citizens group to reveal any donors to their efforts.
One has to wonder if another reason for Mayor Rinker not defending her seat had something to do with the WidenI77.org group's efforts and that long, long list of petition signers they have been collecting.
Regardless, stepping into the breach is another HOT supporter, Cornelius Commissioner Chuck Travis. He immediately announced that he would be throwing his name into the Mayor's race. So, maybe the real surprise in Cornelius will be if anyone challenges Travis for the seat and who ends up in what are now two open seats on the town Board.