Whitehall City Council President Jim Graham will step down at the end of the year.
Graham, 71, is in the final year of his second term as council president and filed a petition in February with the Franklin County Board of Elections to seek a third term.
But Graham said May 17 he has withdrawn from the race.
His decision will create an uncontested race in the fall, barring a write-in candidate.
Former Whitehall City Councilman Tom Potter also filed a petition for City Council president, which the board of elections has certified.
“I decided my best choice is not to run,” said Graham, adding he was not sure he wanted to commit to another four-year term.
Prior to his two four-year terms as council president, Graham served two four-year terms as an at-large council member.
At least three candidates were required to file for each open seat to trigger a primary in the city’s nonpartisan election in May, said Aaron Sellers, public information officer for the board of elections.
Had three or more candidates filed for any one position, the top two vote-getters in a May primary would have proceeded to the November ballot.
That didn’t happen, so no May primary was held in Whitehall.
Because Whitehall’s elections are nonpartisan, all candidates, including independents, were required to file by Feb. 6.
The filing deadline for independents in partisan municipalities was May 6, Sellers said.
Graham said Feb. 10 while he filed a petition, he was still considering at the time whether he would commit to another four years as council president.
“It’s a big decision,” he said then.
Sellers confirmed May 22 that the board of elections had received official word of Graham’s withdrawal, and also confirmed that Potter is the only other certified candidate for president of council.
“Because Whitehall has a primary, the write-in option is the only way to participate in the election at this point,” he said.
Graham’s withdrawal leaves just one contested Whitehall municipal race on the November ballot.
All three incumbent at-large council members – Robert Bailey, Karen Conison and Wes Kantor – filed petitions for re-election.
Two challengers also filed petitions for at-large council seats: Gerald P. Dixon and Timothy W. Mouzon Jr.
However, Mouzon’s petition was disqualified by the board of elections in February, leaving Dixon as the sole challenger.
It is Dixon’s third attempt at elected office.
Dixon campaigned for an at-large council seat in 2015 and a Ward 1 council seat in 2017.
Mayor Kim Maggard, City Attorney Michael Todd Bivens and incumbent Treasurer Steven B. Quincel will be unopposed for their respective offices.
Alexander N. Mitchell filed to run for mayor, but his petition likewise was disqualified in February. The board of elections said he failed to submit the required number of valid signatures.