Retired patent attorney John Maier, who filed last week to run in the Republican primary against District 3 Commissioner Justin Conrad, has pulled out of the race and been reimbursed his filing fee. His name will not appear on the ballot in the May primary.
Maier, 82, said that one of his concerns was an ongoing health condition that may have turned out to be too much for him and the people around him. He said that, instead of running for the seat on the Board of Commissioners, he was throwing his support behind Conrad. Maier added that he’d always intended to vote for Conrad – even if he, Maier, had remained in the race.
“In Catholic grade school, they taught us that it was impolite to vote for yourself,” he said.
Maier said that that teaching had always made sense to him, so he’d intended to vote for Conrad all along. Now he can do so without simultaneously casting a vote against himself.
Maier said he didn’t want the $207 filing fee back and told staff at the Guilford County Board of Elections to “Give the money to the hungry.” However, he said, election staff informed him that, by law, the office had to return the money to him, so he took it.
“I am going to donate it to the hungry,” he said.
Maier also said he felt even better about the decision not to run when he found out this week that Conrad’s family had started Libby Hill Seafood restaurants because he really enjoys the food there.
Maier told the Rhino Times on Saturday, Feb. 18 that he was having second thoughts about running and said that he’d had some difficulty lining up help for his campaign. He said he’d asked four people to handle the finances but none of them were able to do it. He said this week that he had thought about leaving his name on the ballot to see how he did, but in the end he decided to officially pull out.
Maier and Conrad plan to meet on Thursday to discuss Conrad’s campaign and District 3 issues.
Conrad, who’s finishing up his first four-year term as the District 3 commissioner, still has a challenger in the general election – political newcomer Tracy Lamothe, a Democrat who has decided to vie for the District 3 seat as well. The filing period is still open so Conrad and Lamothe may see more competition by the end of the month.
Maier filed to run for the District 3 commissioner’s seat on Tuesday Feb. 13 and pulled out on Tuesday, Feb. 20, meaning his candidacy lasted almost exactly a week. His filing to run caused some commotion among Republican commissioners and Republican Party officials because Conrad, party officials and others did not know Maier.
Maier has lived in Greensboro for 52 years. He has lived in Conrad’s precinct much of that time, but Conrad said he didn’t know anything about Maier until he filed to run.
When he filed, Maier said running for office is something he’d thought about doing for a while and this year he finally decided it was time to do so. He said he’d spoken with a former Greensboro mayor about running and a need for more older people in local government.
When Maier filed to run, he joked about his age.
“I may be dead before the election,” he said.
Maier did his undergraduate work at the University of Rochester and earned his law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1963.
Guilford County Elections Director Charlie Collicutt said that his office has seen candidates withdraw before but he can’t remember if this is the shortest span that someone had been an official candidate.
If a candidate pulls out three or more days before the end of filing period, he or she gets the filing fee back. After that point, a candidate can announce that he or she is not running but the filing fee is not reimbursed and the candidate’s name still appears on the ballot.
The filing period for candidates ends at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 28, so Conrad could still have a primary if any Republican District 3 hopefuls challenge him.