Coalville Mayor Duane Schmidt announced Monday that he is pulling out of the race for Seat C on the Summit County Council. He was running on the Republican side of the ticket against Democrat Kim Carson.
In a statement emailed to The Park Record late Monday, Schmidt said his decision came with a heavy heart, but is based on concerns over a lingering health issue and changes to his work responsibilities.
"I have spent the last eight years of my life devoting my time to public service," Schmidt said. "I will continue to fulfill my term as Mayor of Coalville. It is imperative that I spend some time placing myself and family first. I know that this may come as a letdown to my supporters and for that I am deeply sorry."
The news was bittersweet for Coalville Councilmember Jodie Coleman, who said it would have been sad to not have him as mayor if he had won the County Council seat.
"He's been a great asset to Coalville," Coleman said. "He's redoing our Main Street, dealing with the new sewer plant we've had to build and he has been getting grants and funding. He is a great leader to our community."
However, she said it would have been great to have him on the County Council as a strong representative for the East Side.
"So it makes me sad he's dropped out," Coleman said.
Carson, who now has a clear path to the county seat, said her first concern is about Schmidt.
"I hope he is doing well," she said. "This is a decision that he couldn't have taken lightly."
Carson said she and Schmidt had worked well together during the campaign process, and that they were always professional and respectful in their interactions.
"I appreciate that, and I look forward to working with him in his remaining time as mayor. Hopefully we have established the beginnings of a good working relationship," she said.
The Summit County Republican Chair, Henry Glasheen, said he supports Schmidt 100 percent in his decision.
"It's unfortunate what happened and he's a friend. Health is way more important than the race," Glasheen said, adding that the health problems are not life-threatening, but just a matter of getting healthy again.
Glasheen also said Carson is a good candidate.
"She's really smart and she's going to do a great job," Glasheen said. "The reality is, nothing was lost here. Of all the candidates that were in that race, she is certainly as capable as anyone."
Carson was very responsive to constituents when she was on the school board, Glasheen said, and he thinks she'll be equally so when she's on the County Council.
"This was a win-win situation," he said. "Whoever won this race was going to be a great county councilor."