Gene Beyer, mayor since 1990, announced this week that he will not seek reelection for a third term.
The mayor's race now includes Councilwoman Joanne Coontz, who opened her mayoral campaign in May, and Councilman Fred L. Barrera, who announced his candidacy as soon as he heard Beyer was not running.
Beyer, 66, has struggled with heart problems and arthritis for a number of years. He said in a prepared statement that he wants to spend more time with his family when his term ends.
He said in the statement that he made the decision "with a great deal of sadness and regret" after talking with his family.
He thanked residents and his supporters and added that he is "truly honored to have been elected as your councilman and mayor--a total of five times since 1980."
Barrera, 72, had said he would only run if Beyer did not enter the race.
"I have only admiration for that man," he said. "In 20 years, I've served a lot of mayors as pro tem and Gene had a lot of style."
Coontz has served two four-year terms on the City Council and she recalled meeting Beyer when he was principal of the Peralta Junior High School in Orange.
"The story of his life is giving to his community," she said. "I know it was a hard decision for Gene because he's been involved in community service all of his life."
Coontz, 65, said she has been active in the community since moving to Orange in 1961.