Candidate Jim Scholz withdrew today from the race for the District 2 seat on the Juneau Assembly and endorsed fellow candidate Randy Wanamaker.
"I filed for election because of my strong commitment to Juneau and the Southeast region. It is precisely because of that strong commitment to Juneau that I am withdrawing from this race," he said in a written statement.
Scholz, regional sales manager for Northland Services and Glacier Marine Transport, said he came to the decision after discussions with Wanamaker and others. Scholz said he shares the same vision of Juneau's future as Wanamaker, pointing to the need to encourage business and build support in Southeast Alaska for keeping legislative sessions in Juneau.
"Juneau's economy, our statewide image and the upcoming legislative move battle must be the main focus of this municipal election. Juneau voters need to coalesce around single, not multiple, candidates who will carry that message and are qualified to actually make a difference for our capital city," Scholz said.
Scholz said he would continue to advocate for Juneau as a member of the city Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Juneau Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He will give serious consideration to a future run for local office, he added.
Diversity was another consideration, Scholz wrote, pointing out that there is no Native representation on the Assembly. It is a gap that Wanamaker, an environmental assessor and chairman of the board of directors at Goldbelt, Inc., would fill. Goldbelt is Juneau's urban Native corporation.
Wanamaker said today he was humbled by Scholz's decision.
"I'm honored to have his support and endorsement. It allows me to focus on my message and on listening to people," he said.
District 2 candidate Clancy DeSmet, a project review coordinator with the Alaska Coastal Management Program, said Scholz's decision won't affect his campaign. He said losing a fellow candidate is unfortunate.
"It's great that there's such an interest. It is interesting to have more than one or two people running," he said.
Candidate Dixie Hood said she doesn't know if the change will affect her campaign for the District 2 seat.
"I think the quality-of-life issues that I'm pursuing encompass both business and environmental concerns. I'm just going to continue on," she said.
District 2 incumbent John MacKinnon is not seeking re-election this fall because of term limits.
The city clerk's office is encouraging candidates to let staff members know by noon Friday if they plan to withdraw, Deputy City Clerk Beth McEwan said. A candidate who withdraws this week will not have his or her name printed on the ballot, she said.
Joanna Markell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.