COLUMBIA -- State Rep. Mike Anthony, D-Union, is dropping out of the race for state schools chief, his campaign confirmed Wednesday.
Anthony felt that the campaign was taking too much time away from his family and his hometown, said Tyler Jones, his campaign manager.
The retired football coach and public-school educator also felt that he could devote more attention to education issues in the House, Jones said.
Anthony released the following statement:
Since announcing my candidacy for Superintendent of Education I have enjoyed traveling around the state and meeting so many others who share my commitment to improving public education in South Carolina.
During this time I have come to the conclusion that I can be more effective at improving our schools by remaining in the House of Representatives, where I presently serve on the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee as well as the K-12 sub-committee. As Superintendent, one of my main goals would have been to put more money into the classroom. By remaining in the House and continuing to serve on the Ways and Means Committee, I have a voice, and more importantly a vote, to put more money in the budget for our schools.
I enjoy serving my community in the legislature and frankly, have not enjoyed spending so much time away from Union and away from my family while seeking statewide office.
Today I am ending my campaign for Superintendent of Education and will be seeking re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives. The support I've received in my campaign has been both overwhelming and humbling and I am so appreciative to everyone who has helped me up to this point. I remain committed to our schools, and if re-elected to the State House, I will use my position to strongly advocate for a substantial increase in school funding so we can pay our teachers what they deserve and allow every student an opportunity to prosper.
Anthony, who will run for re-election to his House seat, was first to announce his candidacy for the state's top education post last year.
Republican Mick Zais, currently in his first term as state Superintendent of Education, has announced he will not seek re-election.
That leaves Montrio Belton, a former principal and teacher from Fort Mill, as the only Democrat in race.
Eight Republicans have announced they are running: Sally Atwater, a former Colleton County teacher and widow of GOP operative Lee Atwater; Gary Burgess, Anderson County Board of Education member; Meka Childs of Columbia, former S.C. Education Department deputy superintendent; Amy Cofield, a Lexington attorney; Sheri Few, a Lugoff Republican activist; Don Jordan of Columbia, a University of South Carolina professor; Elizabeth Moffly, a Charleston County School Board member; and Molly Spearman, executive director of the S.C. Association of School Administrators.