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Smith drops bid for County CEO

School board member Brad Smith announced he is dropping out of the race for the county Commission Chairman seat and will run instead for reelection in 2012.

Smith said in a released statement, "After due consideration, I have determined that I can offer more value in a non-partisan position on the school board (a position that I will seek again in the 2012 General Election) than as the Republican nominee for the office of Chairman of the Board of Commissioners."

He continued, "At this point, the destructive partisanship we have seen at the national and state levels appears to have begun to seep into the local levels, and I have no interest in pandering to either party in a bid to be elected to any office. As a centrist Republican, I could not in good conscience adopt some of the views I’ve heard loudly voiced among the Republican Party leadership in our county, nor could I fathom running as a Democrat for similar reasons."

"I am proud to be part of one of the best school systems in the State and wish to continue contributing to the betterment of our community in that way."

He concluded, "I wish the best of luck to anyone who is or may be considering running for the Republican nomination for Chairman of the Rockdale BOC."

Smith, who announced his bid for county commission Chairman last year, had come under fire in the Rockdale GOP the past few months for suggesting the school board look at raising millage rates as an option to balance the school's budget instead of cutting six days from the school calendar. Smith also voted in June for a budget that would require a 1.5 millage rate increase, along with school board Chairman Wales Barksdale, member Jean Yontz and member Darlene Hotchkiss.

 Smith was elected to his first term on the Rockdale County school board in 2008. He is a Covington firefighter, small business owner, and Air Force veteran who retired after 20 years with the 23rd Aircraft Maintenance squadron and worked with 75th Fighter Squadron.

Two other candidates have declared their intent to run on the Republican ticket for Commission Chairman: Mercy Heart president Ed Conway and former Post I Commissioner Jason Hill.

On the Democratic ticket, resident Brian Jenkins declared he would run in 2012, and current Chairman Richard Oden has said he would run for reelection.