HAMMOND | Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said it was a long struggle to decide whether to seek a fourth term in office and he almost certainly will not seek re-election in the future.

"I can't see myself running for a fifth term," he said Thursday.

At the same time, McDermott said he plans to remain in politics as long as the voters let him.

Within the last few weeks, McDermott has expressed interest in a possible run in 2016 for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Dan Coats. He has also been mentioned as a possible challenger to Gov. Mike Pence and expressed interest in the past in a possible run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

There has been some thought that McDermott has waited too long if he wanted to make a run for governor. McDermott said he has heard that argument in regard to the gubernatorial race and other contests. He noted, however, that Vice President Joseph Biden still has not made a decision about entering the much bigger contest for president.

At the moment, McDermott said he is focusing on the mayoral race. If re-elected he would become the city's longest serving mayor as of Jan. 1, 2016.

Despite the chance to make history in that regard and the opportunity to see more of his plans for the city come to fruition in the coming years, McDermott said he struggled on whether to seek another term this time.

"It was a big decision to run for a fourth term," he said. "I went back and forth for a year."

McDermott also will not absolutely rule out running again. For instance, if Hammond were to experience some type of crisis over the next few years he said that might cause him to stay on to help the city through it.

He noted he already had to deal with a severe recession during his early years as mayor, which delayed some of the things he wanted to get accomplished. He said it is nice to see many of those things now coming to fruition, whether it be in the area of economic development, such as the new businesses coming to Oxbow Landing, or quality of life issues, such as the expansion of the city's bicycle trail. He also pointed to the sale of water-revenue bonds that are being used to help put the city on a better financial footing.