published Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Candidate withdraws from race ahead of qualifying

Strike one race off the contested list for the local May 6, 2014 Republican primary.

Hamilton County Board of Education Chairman Mike Evatt said Monday he would not seek the GOP nomination to be the county's circuit court clerk.

Citing family reasons, Evatt told the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club he had to withdraw. He has recently become a grandfather and has other family responsibilities.

"After prayerful consideration, I am withdrawing my bid for Hamilton County Circuit Court Clerk," Evatt said. "I may be withdrawing from this campaign, but I am in no way withdrawing my commitment to public service."

Evatt said his new grandson was born with a special need.

"My family is dear to me, and my grandson has got a special need -- it's totally treatable and correctable -- but it's just going to take some time and effort from the family," Evatt said.

That means Hamilton County Commissioner Larry Henry is the only announced Republican candidate for the seat, which is being vacated by current Clerk Paula Thompson. Thompson decided not to seek re-election. No local Democrats have voiced intentions to run for the post.

Henry wished Evatt well.

"Mike Evatt, he's a friend, and his family has a long history of public service in Hamilton County. I don't know what his future intentions are, but I wish him the best in all his endeavors," Henry said Monday after Evatt's announcement.

Both Henry and Evatt had planned to leave their current posts for the position.

Evatt said he will have to consider running to keep his school board seat, which is nonpartisan and elected in August. As a former education department employee, schools are still important to him, Evatt said.

"We're going to look at that in the next 45 days. I felt I should just ease out of [the clerk race] now and see how things go,' Evatt said.

So far, no other candidates have filed treasury reports to seek Evatt's District 9 school board seat.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6481.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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