"The real decisive factor for me was the more I thought about it I realized I've been in elected office now for 12 years, and the reason I decided not to run again for mayor was I feel like I'd done a lot and accomplished what'd I'd set out to do, and I wanted to do something else," he said. "When I thought about the Senate I realized that's not the something else I want to do."
Namely, the stress of campaigning and fundraising for a statewide office did not appeal to the mayor.
Foy, whose eight-year run as Chapel Hill's chief executive ends Monday, had long been considered a potential candidate. He told the Indy in August that he was consulting national and local leaders about running for Sen. Richard Burr's seat.
"I think that I need to make sure at this point that there are a lot of other people besides me who think that I'm a good candidate, and so that's the phase that I'm in now," he said then.
A survey by Public Policy Polling that same month found that Foy (27 percent) compared well to other likely contenders, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (31 percent), former State Sen. Cal Cunningham (27 percent) and attorney Ken Lewis (27 percent).
Despite the numbers, Foy said after weighing the issues, the money and the timing, he thought it best to return to life as a private citizen. He'll now have more time for his day job as a law professor at N.C. Central University where he specializes in environmental law.
But he's not ruling out any future runs for office.
"I think you have to be careful not be burned out on things in life," he said. "I love my job as mayor I probably could have continued to do it forever, but that's the nature of a job like that. It's a high intensity job and it should be done for a limited period of time. I invested a lot in that and I need to be a private citizen for a while.
"It could be in a month from now I'm all rested up, who knows?"