Steven Haught, who qualified Friday afternoon to run for Statesboro City Council in District 5, withdrew Tuesday, leaving incumbent Councilman Travis Chance unopposed.
In the other two districts up for election this year, where the incumbents aren’t running, Sam Jones is unopposed in District 2 and Jeff Yawn is unopposed in District 3. So Statesboro now appears to need no actual election Nov. 3.
Haught, 29, the service manager at the local LongHorn Steakhouse, had turned in his documents and candidate fee about five minutes before qualifying closed at 4:30 p.m. Friday. After the Labor Day weekend, Haught called City Clerk Sue Starling around 2 p.m. Tuesday, she said, and then returned to City Hall to sign an affidavit withdrawing as a candidate.
“After talking with my family, talking with my girlfriend, and after being able to sit down and have some time with my boss, my director with my job, we feel that I’m not going to be able to sustain four years here in Statesboro,” Haught said in a phone interview, “and I don’t want to mislead the community by the fact that I want to serve in that role but I won’t be able to do it for four years.”
Haught had qualified at the last minute, he said, with the thought of keeping open the option of running for the council seat. But his job with the restaurant chain presents the possibility of a transfer or promotion.
“It’s not anything in the immediate future, but it is something that if the opening comes I would be one of the choices to move into that role,” he said.
Asked specifically, Haught said that no one pressured or inappropriately influenced him to withdraw. Chance had not contacted him, Haught said.
In a phone call to the Statesboro Herald, Chance praised Haught and his decision, which appears to clear the way for what will be Chance’s third term.
“I think it speaks very highly of a young man who, if he couldn’t give his full commitment, did not want to proceed,” Chance said. “I think he’s an upstanding gentleman, and I really wish him well, and I look forward to serving the 5th District for another four-year term.”
Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.