LUMBERTON — City Councilman John Cantey has withdrawn from the race for the District 1 seat on the county Board of Commissioners.
His decision leaves two candidates remaining in the Democratic primary, which will be held May 8, incumbent Jerry Stephens and challenger James Smith. There is no Republican seeking the seat.
Dock Locklear, the supervisor of the county Board of Elections, said Tuesday afternoon that Cantey had not contacted his office about the decision. He said ballots for the May 8 election have already been printed, so Cantey’s name would be offered as an option on the day of the primary.
Cantey, who represents Precinct 5, released a statement earlier today saying three issues affected his decision.
— Divisiveness of elections. “As the Robeson County Democratic vice chair, I have vowed to promote the common good and unity for our citizens as a whole,” Cantey said.
— No clear successor for the Precinct 5 seat on City Council. Cantey said he’s asked nine people to serve in his place on the City Council if he were to win a seat on the county Board of Commissioners, but no one stepped forward. “I haven’t gotten a clear response or OK from any of those people,” he said.
— That he has more work to do on the City Council, including stopping an effort by the council to end early voting in city elections.
Cantey, who has served Precinct 5 since 2005, said he does not plan to endorse either candidate in the District 1 race.
“I’m going to let the people decide on what direction they wish to go,” he said. “I encourage everyone to vote early at one-stop. They need to show the City Council that we support one-stop, and we want everyone to keep it.”