John Yeo, a Sequim School Board candidate for the at-large Position 4, tried to withdraw from the election recently in the race against incumbent Beverly Horan.
He left a letter dated July 8 with the Clallam County Auditor's Office stating he withdrew his candidacy for multiple reasons stated later. However, state law RCW 29A.24.131 under "Withdrawal of candidacy" doesn't allow him to do so.
Shoona Radon, the county elections supervisor, said the last day to withdraw after filing was May 20 at 4:30 p.m.
Each election cycle, candidates can withdraw before the close of business on the following Monday of filing week.
Yeo was sent a letter explaining the process, Radon said, and he will stay on the ballot for the Nov. 5 general election. Because only two candidates are running, the race won't appear in the primary ballot on Aug. 6.
“Even though he dropped that off, I cannot accept it,” she said.
Before this year, county auditors like Patty Rosand held the power to take a candidate off the ballot so long as it wasn't printed yet but new laws changed this.
Radon said the only instance in which a candidate could be taken off the ballot after the deadline is if he or she is running unopposed and dies before the election.
This hasn't happened in Clallam County to her knowledge, but candidates have asked to withdraw after the deadline before.
“He'll still go onto the election. If he wins, his next step would be to send a letter of resignation to the school board,” Radon said.
Sequim Schools Superintendent Kelly Shea received a letter from Yeo about his decision.
Yeo said that if he had known before what he learned about the election the first weeks after signing up, he wouldn't have done so.
“It was a lack of general information,” he said.
In his letter, Yeo said he was disturbed he must disclose his finances to run for office.
He also said the time commitment would be too much and that his credentials as a substitute teacher for nine years didn't necessarily qualify him to help oversee the superintendent.
Yeo also expressed concern about the school board not discussing an updated policy on marijuana at a meeting, which he said is an important issue.
His mother was recently hospitalized across the country, he said, and he's working five to six days a week as a maintenance engineer an apartment complex he owns.
At a candidate workshop, Yeo said he found himself frustrated with the amount of information and time he had to learn it.
“I am sorry, but running for this office is absolutely out of the question for me at this time,” he said.
Yeo said he doesn't plan to campaign or spend money on the race. He continues to contest the RCW.
Horan is running for her third term but she's not necessarily averse to running against someone for the first time.
“It helps you to think of what's really important to you,” she said. “(The school district) is in a great position financially and with the type of professional development we're doing.”
While running gives her a chance to reevaluate her beliefs and stances on education, she admits feeling relieved to run unopposed again.
“I felt a great deal of release to come back and just focus on work for a third term,” she said.