**Story has been updated with a statement from Ferris.
Two current Democrats on Roanoke City Council plan to run as independents for re-election in May.
Councilmen Bill Bestpitch and Ray Ferris told WSLS on Thursday that they intend to switch.
In an e-mail, Bestpitch wrote:
"I am deeply grateful to the more than 185 voters in the City of Roanoke who signed one of the petitions to place my name on the ballot for the Democratic primary election on March 4. I assume you are aware that Councilman Ray Ferris decided not to run in the primary. I also have decided not to file... After much careful consideration, I have concluded that I cannot allow myself in good conscience to risk assuming a position where I would be expected to support candidates challenging the re-election of any of my colleagues. Therefore, I have made the very difficult decision to run for city council as an independent on May 6."
Ferris told WSLS 10's John Carlin, "There's no place for partisan politics in local government." Ferris added that he was also concerned about the cost of running in a primary.
Former city Vice-Mayor and current Councilman Dr. David Trinkle e-mailed supporters on Thursday, saying he had filed to run in the Democratic primary.
The Democratic shake-up follows the announcements by former City Councilwoman Linda Wyatt, and former House of Delegates Democratic candidate Freeda Cathcart, to seek one of the three Democratic nominations for City Council.
A statement sent to the WSLS newsroom Friday morning from the Farris camp says:
Today, I formally announce my intention to run for a second term on Roanoke City
Council. I have been grateful for the support of the Roanoke Democratic Party and
appreciate what we have accomplished together in the past four years. So that I may
continue to focus on ideas that move Roanoke forward, I have decided to run as anindependent in the upcoming May general election.
I have chosen to run as an independent because I want to be judged by my record, not a
party label. I am proud of the progress we have made for our city. I have listened to the
community and concluded that the party politics that divide our capitol have no role in
local government, and I want to continue our tradition of working together to improve
our city. Roanoke is moving in the right direction, and we will continue to make great
strides to support our schools, balance our budget, and invest in our neighborhoods.
Next May, I will stand on my record and ask voters for a second term on Roanoke City
Council. I will be honored to earn your vote on May 6.