MANATEE -- Thomas Batchelor has dropped his bid to unseat Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh.
Batchelor, a firefighter in Longboat Key, was running with no party affiliation, meaning he wouldn't have to face voters until the Nov. 8 general election.
"The No. 1 reason is lack of financial support from the amount of the time available to seek such support," Batchelor said Monday. "Since there was lack of financial support, there wasn't much point in going any further in getting the petitions done to get on the ballot officially."
Due to personal financial reasons, Batchelor said he elected to withdraw now rather than waiting a little longer. Batchelor, who plans on retiring as a Longboat Key firefighter this year, said he is going to need to work another career after the fire department.
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"If I am the only stone in the driveway, I'm not going to be able to get a whole lot of traction and that's exactly what happened," said Batchelor, who had raised $570.
When asked whether this would be the end of politics, Batchelor said he "would definitely entertain the option of running again in the future, but I would not do it the same way."
Baugh, a Republican, currently faces a challenge from Kathleen Grant, also a Republican. If no other Democrat, unaffiliated or write-in candidate files to run, the race will be decided by the outcome of the GOP primary on Aug. 30.
Baugh has raised $60,975 to date and Grant has $100 in her account.
If no other candidates file, all registered voters in District 5 will be able to vote in the primary.
The qualifying period for candidates runs from June 20 to June 24.
Batchelor thanked his supporters.
"Thank you to all the people that did voice their support as far as the concept of me running and possibly being elected with my political stance on various matters in the county that they aligned themselves with me," he said. "Thank you for that support but it didn't just work out. There are bills to be paid and signs to be put up. I didn't want to have a few people that were willing to go petition gathering and do all that work because my opponent has over $60,000 in her account and I have hardly any. You have to have the money and you have to have the petition and with petitions, you have boots on the ground. Unfortunately in our system, it revolves around the money."
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.