David Simons ends campaign for president of Savannah-Chatham school board

Just a quick note about David Simons’ announcement today that he has ended his campaign for board president of the Savannah-Chatham County public schools. Here is Simons’ statement via the Savannah Morning News:

“After careful consideration and with the support of my family, I am terminating my bid for Savannah-Chatham County school board president,” Simons wrote. “This position is too important to be distracted by issues unrelated to educating the children of Chatham County. I have learned from the challenges of candidacy and I believe these lessons will make me a better campaign consultant going forward. I truly care about the future of our children and this community and believe this is the right decision at this time. ”

Simons got enough votes on Tuesday to get into the runoff against Jolene Byrne, but Byrne’s 40.1 percent in the primary pretty much guaranteed that she would defeat Simons (21.5 percent) in July.

A bit oddly, there has been no statement so far about the withdrawal on the Simons campaign Facebook page, and the elections board hasn’t yet received word that Simons is withdrawing. Assuming all the necessary paperwork is filed, Byrne will face third place finisher Chester Ellis (17.3 percent) in the runoff.

Simons explicitly touted himself as “the only Republican” in the 5-way non-partisan race, owns Simons Political Group, serves on the board of the local Chamber of Commerce, and was endorsed right before the election by the Savannah Area Business Political Action Committee. Over 17,000 votes were cast in Chatham County in the Republican Senate primary, but Simons got only 5,900 of the 27,000+ votes cast in the school board race.

It seems that Simons and some key members of Savannah’s business community dramatically misunderstood the local electorate and their priorities.