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And then there were six
District 3 contender Charles Blakewood drops out of the race after forum
It was a packed house Thursday night for the BoE forum. - photo by Jeff Whitte

Charles Blakewood has decided to step down as a contender for the Board of Education District 3 seat, now throwing his support behind opponent Charlie Johnson.

Following the Bryan County Board of Education Candidate Forum Thursday evening, Blakewood said he felt Johnson was the better candidate.

"It has become profoundly evident to me to a degree that is impossible to ignore that I would not be as good a representative for District 3 as would Charlie Johnson," he said. "I was impressed with this realization early on at the Bryan County News political forum. His insights and business-like, clear approach to the issues facing our school system made me realize that just having good ideas and having the courage to air them are not enough."

Blakewood said a board member should be able to "communicate that vision, to persuade others to ‘buy in’ to the vision and to work for consensus in the formulation and the implementation of such policies," he explained.

"I’m more of an idea man...I can quickly see to the heart of issues and point to the need for change, I can even intelligently suggest viable solutions, but I have never been a consensus-builder...I encourage everyone who has supported me and who may have planned to vote for me to vote for the better candidate, Charlie Johnson."

Johnson said he was very surprised and has a "tremendous amount" of respect for Blakewood.

"I accept his support and I believe he’s been a huge asset in the school system," Johnson said. "If elected, I’ll be calling on him next year to get his insight on different issues. I am very appreciative of his support and encourage everyone who had been supporting him to take a look at me."

District 3 contender Candace Piper also said she was also surprised to hear of Blakewood’s decision.

"I recognize Charles Blakewood’s prerogative to back the candidate of his choice," Piper said. "However, I find it ironic that after the forum last night, Mr. Blakewood personally told me that he would vote for me."

Blakewood said the public isn’t done hearing from him yet and he plans to remain active with "essaying, philosophical introspection and analysis of the great issues of life."

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