NEWARK, Ohio - The Licking County Municipal Court clerk's race got a little less crowded yesterday when Brad Feightner withdrew his candidacy.

NEWARK, Ohio — The Licking County Municipal Court clerk’s race got a little less crowded yesterday when Brad Feightner withdrew his candidacy.

“I just feel it’s the best thing for me to do right now,” Feightner said. “I don’t want to burn any more bridges with the Republican Party. There might be further opportunities for me down the road.”

Feightner, a former county commissioner, announced in April that he was running for the clerk’s office as an independent. The county Republican Party filed a protest a month later, asking the board of elections to throw out his nomination.

The party maintained that Feightner was no independent. Not only was he a former party-nominated officeholder, but he also was currently a sitting member of the party’s Central Committee.

The party said Feightner was only trying to circumvent a partisan primary by filing as an independent. The protest was scheduled to be heard on Tuesday.

The Republicans nominated Feightner as their candidate for court clerk in 2007, but he lost to Democrat Marcia Phelps, the current clerk who’s again on the November ballot.

This time around, the county Republicans endorsed Olivia Thorp, a political rookie with some political capital because she’s the wife of longtime Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp. She currently is the chief deputy for Common Pleas Clerk Gary Walters.

Feightner said he was not forced from the race nor offered any incentive to drop out.

elyttle@dispatch.com

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