George Boll, one of eight Tarrant County residents seeking to represent Texas Senate District 10, said Monday that he’s out of the race.
In a written statement, Boll, a Democrat from Fort Worth, said he has suspended his bid for the post, which is being vacated by state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.
“There is simply too much at stake for our community in this election,” he said. “Despite the wonderful and overwhelmingly positive support I have received for this race from so many friends — new friends and old ones — I have concluded that 2014 is not the right time for me.
“And that’s why I am suspending my campaign.”
Boll’s decision leaves two Democrats and five Republicans in the race that is expected to be one of the most watched and most expensive contests in the state.
Races for the seat have drawn statewide attention and financing since Davis first bested GOP state Sen. Kim Brimer of Arlington to claim it in 2008.
In 2012, Republicans statewide worked to reclaim the seat for their party as Democrats backed Davis in her re-election bid against state Rep. Mark Shelton, R-Fort Worth. Even though top Republicans endorsed Shelton in the race, Davis won re-election with 51.12 percent of the vote.
Davis announced months ago that instead of seeking re-election, she will run for the Governor’s Mansion.
This Senate seat is vital to both parties. If Democrats lose it and all other Senate seats stay the same, Republicans inch closer to clinching a super majority in the chamber.
District 10 — which includes Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield, Colleyville and other areas of south and Northeast Tarrant County — has seen demographic changes in recent years that appear to leave the district up for grabs.
The remaining candidates in the race: Democrats Mike Martinez, a local energy executive, and Libby Willis, a longtime neighborhood leader; Republicans Konni Burton of Colleyville, a longtime leader in the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party, Arlington school Trustee Tony Pompa, Colleyville chiropractor Jon Schweitzer, Shelton, of Fort Worth, and Mark Skinner of Colleyville.
A call to step down
Weeks earlier, five former Tarrant County Democratic leaders asked Boll to abandon his bid, saying he voted more often than not as a Republican and belongs on the GOP ballot.
Local voting records show that Boll, 48, an attorney in Fort Worth and a former Colleyville councilman, has voted in only one Democratic primary since 2000 — the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008. The rest of his votes during that period were cast in Republican primaries and runoff elections.
Boll said in mid-December that he wouldn’t get out of the race. He said he turned to the Republican elections because he didn’t have real choices in most judicial races on the Democratic ballot.
And he said he wasn’t the first Democrat who has voted in Republican primaries and likely won’t be the last.
On Monday, he did not return a telephone call from the Star-Telegram, instead releasing a statement that said: “Although I will no longer seek the Democratic nomination for Senate District 10, I remain focused on and committed to electing a candidate in this race who will put middle class families and public school kids first.”
Willis and others praised Boll’s decision.
“He has demonstrated his dedication to family and has served his community,” she said. “I will seek his counsel and his help to keep SD 10 on the side of working families. I wish George and his family the best.”
Burton said any candidate who supports Obama’s healthcare law “will not be able to defend District 10 middle class families and their values.”
“I applaud Mr. Boll’s decision and would encourage other Tarrant County Democrat candidates to consider similar action,” Burton said. “With Obamacare attacking middle-class families, it will be very difficult for any Democrat to convince voters of their sincerity.”
The primary election is March 4.