Two candidates withdraw from Sequim School Board races

One race remains contested for November ballot

Races for seats on the Sequim School Board of Directors narrowed in recent weeks, as two candidates dropped out to leave just one race contested.

Charles W. Smith III, a real estate broker with Professional Realty Services, and Jerry Mote, a property manager, said they’ve dropped out of their respective races.

Smith was running for the Director at Large seat No. 5 against Eric Pickens, a first grade teacher at Port Angeles’ Franklin Elementary School, while Mote filed as an official write-in candidate against Larry Jeffryes, a retired teacher.

That leaves seat No. 3, with incumbent Jim Stoffer seeking reelection against challenger Beth Smithson.

Smith’s name will remain on the Nov. 5 ballot because it was too late for his name to be taken off when he withdrew on Sept. 12.

He said his decision to withdraw was due to personal reasons.

Since his decision, Smith said, he’s deleted his candidate social media presence, taken down his campaign signs, and does not plan to attend an upcoming League of Women Voters of Clallam County candidate forum, set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Sequim Civic Center.

Mote, an assistant football coach at Sequim High School for six years, said he withdrew his candidacy after he learned that staff members cannot be board directors.

“I prefer to keep coaching football,” he said.

Mote said he didn’t campaign and only told a few people of his intentions to run.

He said his application went in during the filing period this summer, but there was an issue with his voter registration address and physical address so he had to clear it up in order to be an official candidate.

When asked why he wanted on the board, Mote said, “I thought I could make a difference and help.”

“I’m not a political person,” he said.

Mote has four children in Sequim schools, ranging from fifth grade to high school junior.

He doesn’t plan to run again for school board because of his coaching job, he said.

Smith, a volunteer of the Sequim School District’s Community Truancy Board, said he was running because he had concerns about some of the district’s curriculum and wanted more emphasis on trades and vocational programs.

“I feel the trades have disappeared from American schools when they should be presented as alternatives to college as satisfying alternatives to college,” he said.

Smith said he was a fan of the school district’s Skilled Trades Expo last year.

He said he is undecided if he’ll run again for school board.

“I’m not sure if it’s the most effective use of my time,” Smith said. “I really love the kids. I think I might be more effective working outside the restrictions of working on the board.”

Smith plans to remain on the Truancy Board, however.

For more about the Sequim School Board, call the Sequim School District office at 360-582-3260.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

Charles Smith III withdrew from a Sequim School Board director race for personal reasons, he said. His name will remain on the ballot but he doesn’t intend to campaign. Photo courtesy of Charles Smith III

Charles Smith III withdrew from a Sequim School Board director race for personal reasons, he said. His name will remain on the ballot but he doesn’t intend to campaign. Photo courtesy of Charles Smith III

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