Brian Bower, who said his top priority if elected to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board would be “to pick my jaw from off the floor,” removed that possibility Wednesday night by dropping out of the race.

Bower, a UNC graduate student who was running primarily to establish in-state residency and earn lower tuition costs, is withdrawing from the race both because of the “remote possibility that my candidacy might jeopardize the re-election of Ms. (Jamezetta) Bedford,” he wrote in a statement, and because UNC recently approved his application to be an in-state student.

Bedford thought she was running unopposed for a two-year seat on the board until last week, when the Orange County Board of Elections realized it had made a mistake and that Bedford must run against seven other hopefuls for a four-year term.

Bower never seemed likely to earn a seat, but this erases all doubt. His announcement leaves seven candidates vying for five seats. Bower’s name will remain on the ballot, however, due to the timing of his announcement. Early voting started today.

Bower also wrote in his statement that he would not respond to interview requests until after the Nov. 8 election results are finalized.

His full statement is here:

October 19, 2011

Brian Bower

135 Dixie Garden Drive

Chapel Hill, NC 27516

All concerned parties,
As of October 19, 2011 I have officially withdrawn my candidacy for one of the seats on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education. This message has been or will be sent to all of the Board of Education candidates including the current chair of the CHCCS Board of Education, Ms. Jamezetta Bedford, and other selected agencies.
My decision to withdraw my candidacy was motivated in part due to the remote possibility that my candidacy might jeopardize the re-election of Ms. Bedford, who until recently was running unopposed for a two-year seat on the Board of Education but whom has recently been put in the disadvantaged position of running against candidates whom have been actively campaigning for the contested 4-year seats. My decision was also motivated by the recent decision of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Graduate School to approve my application for classification as an in state student for tuition purposes.
Due to the unfortunate timing of these events, my name will still appear on the ballots and I may still garner a few votes despite the fact I will not accept a position on the Board of Education. Educating the voters may help minimize the impact these votes may have on the outcome of the election. While I no longer have any stake in the Board of Education race I am aware that the parents and students of the district and the candidates for and members of Board of Education do have such a stake. As such I leave it to all concerned parties to publicize my withdrawal from the race as much or as little as they see fit. As I am no longer a candidate and as I do not wish to further influence the outcome of the election I will decline any interview requests until the results of the election are announced.
Brian Bower