Former County Councilman William H. Brill dropped out of the race for county executive Friday, saying his commitments as an expert witness on crime and security did not leave him with the time or energy he needed for the campaign.
The departure of Mr. Brill, who registered at the last possible moment for the Sept. 13 primary, reduces the field of Democratic candidates to four.
Mr. Brill, who was on the County Council from 1978 to 1982, owns a security planning and crime analysis business in Annapolis and travels to courtrooms across the county to testify in criminal trials. He had hoped to keep up his work schedule and conduct a campaign at the same time but recently realized that would be impossible, he said.
"I have these cases that began years ago and are coming up, and I couldn't extricate myself from them as easily as I thought I could," Mr. Brill said. "And it isn't fair to your client to ask for a continuance because you can't be there."
Mr. Brill, 61, researched crime in public housing in the early 1970s while working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Nixon administration.
During his short-lived campaign, he advocated an anti-crime program that stressed hiring more police officers, community policing and a hot line to counsel people who might be on the verge of violence.
He also called for curricula in schools that would explore the nature of violence, greater police involvement with communities and county-run programs that would help businesses provide their patrons with adequate security.
Mr. Brill said many people told him there was a lot of support for him and that he had a chance to do well in the election but that "I don't know if in my gut I felt it."
He released a public opinion poll last month that showed he could win the race, since many voters were undecided.
"It was a painful decision to make," he said. "But it was quite a ride as far as it went."