The entrance of City Councilman Rodney Glassman into the race for U.S. Sen. John McCain's seat promises to present a series of contrasts.

Quite aside from the generational differences - Glassman is 31 until May - there's also the question of experience. Both McCain, who Glassman refers to as a "Washington, D.C., fixture," and his GOP challenger, former six-term Congressman J.D. Hayworth, have had long experience at the nation's Capitol.

Glassman, who isn't even three years into his first term on the Tucson City Council, will run on a promise to bring a new approach to work in Congress.

"As I traveled across Arizona, I heard a resounding message that John McCain has been in Washington so long that he's become part of the problem," Glassman said in a statement.

Glassman received a standing ovation from the audience and hugs from fellow council members when he announced his resignation at the end of Tuesday's meeting. "Although I am leaving the City Council today with a heavy heart, I know that I am leaving the council in good, capable hands," he said.

Glassman ran, and delivered, on promises to expand water harvesting and open up school playgrounds as neighborhood parks. His proposal to require new commercial buildings to get half of their landscaping water needs from rainwater was approved, and the council also passed ordinances requiring new houses to be plumbed for gray water and solar hot water.

When asked about Glassman's impact on the council, colleague Shirley Scott, said, water harvesting and plumbing, "I would say those were his hallmarks."

Glassman's supporters credit him with community service and unflagging energy.

"I think the world of him. He's one of the smartest, most energetic people I've met in my life," said Pima County Democratic Chairman Jeff Rogers. Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez, another supporter, credited his community service and said he brought more business focus to the council.

But Richard Studwell, an infill developer and a longtime critic of the city's downtown redevelopment efforts, said that although Glassman is a "very bright guy," he wasted an opportunity to serve in a leadership role on the council.

"I don't think he did anything constructive for the city because he deferred to other council people when leadership was necessary," Studwell said.

Glassman plans a formal statewide kickoff tour later in the month.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said the incumbent "welcomes Mr. Glassman to the race, and we look forward to a spirited and respectful conversation about the issues that matter most to Arizonans, including getting the economy moving again and repealing the Democrats' misguided health-care reform."

Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at 573-4243 or