CUMMING — The field for the District 27 state Senate race in the May 20 primary has thinned to three candidates with the withdrawal of Jack Schiff.
Schiff announced his decision to drop out in a post on a social media site, saying the move was made with a “heavy heart.”
“My decision to withdraw did not come without a significant amount of counsel and advice from those who are close to me,” he said. “But in the end, we believe this is the right action for the Senate race and for me at this time.”
Schiff’s departure leaves three other Republican candidates in the contest: Incumbent Jack Murphy, Lauren McDonald III and Michael Williams.
No Democrats qualified to run in November, so the primary will decide the race. A runoff election, if necessary, would be held July 22.
District 27 covers all of Forsyth County except the extreme northeastern corner, which is in District 51.
Attempts to reach Schiff for further comment were not successful.
Brad Wilkins, chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party, said he was disappointed to lose a candidate.
“I would prefer to see the voters decide who the winning candidate would be in any primary, but I respect the decision of any candidate who decides to exit the race,” he said.
The ballots for the May 20 primary have already been prepared. Since Schiff’s name still will appear on them, Wilkins said the remaining candidates will have to “do a good job educating their supporters and the voters ... because any change this late in the process, I’m assuming, will cause some confusion.”
Barbara Luth, the county’s elections supervisor, said she received confirmation of Schiff’s withdrawal from the secretary of state’s office.
While there could be some confusion at the polls, Luth said state law requires the elections office to post signs at each voting site alerting voters to the change involving Schiff.
“I hope they read the signs,” she said. “There’s nothing we can do about taking him off the ballot.
“We have been known to put signs in every booth. We haven’t made that decision yet, but we will definitely have a prominent display in different areas of each poll.”
Advance voting for the primary opens Monday. At 6:30 that night, the remaining candidates are scheduled to appear at local Republican Party forum in the Forsyth County Administration Building.
In his online announcement, Schiff encouraged voters not to waste their votes by checking the box next to his name.
“It is important to note that my name will be on the ballot and any vote cast for me will be considered null,” he said. “So please, if you were considering a vote for me in the primary please make another choice, one you feel is best for you, your family and your county.”