Earlier this year, Arrington helped form the New Jefferson County Citizens Coalition, a reincarnation of the black political machine that he lead for 20 years while mayor of Birmingham.
The new organization backed a slate of candidates in the city council elections this fall, but most of the candidates on that slate failed at the ballot box. The two candidates who did succeed — Jay Roberson and incumbent Maxine Parker — were already considered front runners in their respective races.
In the weeks leading to the council runoff last month, Arrington supported District 6 challenger Sheila Tyson over the incumbent, Council President Carole Smitherman. In campaign literature, Arrington said then that he was considering running for office if Mayor Larry Langford were convicted in his federal corruption trial. Arrington used that runoff, among others, as an informal referendum on his influence in Birmingham.
Despite the help from Arrington, in addition to support from political heavies Patrick Cooper and Rep. John Rogers, Tyson failed to unseat Smitherman.
Arrington seems to have taken the New Coalition's defeats as a rebuke of his political influence. On Monday, he told the Birmingham News that those defeats factored heavily in his decision.
While Arrington won't be on the ballot, he could still have an influence on the special-called mayoral election. With attorney and former mayoral special counsel Donald Watkins, Arrington controls several political action committees that have been active in recent municipal elections. Those PACs have channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates for mayor and city council.
Arrington did not indicate that he would endorse another candidate.