Beilenson drops out of Balto. Co. School Board race for Dist. 5; Henn now sole candidate

Peter Beilenson, one of two candidates for the Towson area’s first elected seat in District 5 on the Baltimore County School Board, said Tuesday he is dropping out of the race.

The candidate, a former Baltimore City and Howard County health commissioner, said he got a job offer in Sacramento, although he declined to give specifics of his new position.

Beilenson said he was sad to leave the school board race behind, but “excited to return to California, where I’m from.”

His departure will leave Julie Henn, who currently sits on the board, as the only District 5 candidate on the ballot in the November general election.

“I really respect Peter and I appreciate the service he’s given to the state,” Henn said. “He ran a very positive campaign, and he’s someone I would like to continue to stay in touch with. I think he had some great ideas and I think his heart was in the right place.”

As for the fact that Henn is the final candidate in the race, she said she is “still in shock.”

“This is exciting news in that I will be able to focus on the work of the board and on the kids,” Henn said. “I’m running because I wanted to have the opportunity to continue to serve. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Henn was appointed to the board by Governor Larry Hogan in July 2016.

She and Beilenson did not appear on the primary ballot because there were fewer than three candidates in the district.

Beilenson said he sent paperwork to drop out of the race to the Baltimore County Board of Elections last Thursday. Marcel Kagler, who files candidates at the county Board of Elections, said the withdrawal had not gone through yet so it was still technically unofficial.

The filing deadline for a candidate to get on the ballot has long since passed, but Donna Duncan, assistant deputy for election policy at the Maryland State Board of Elections, said someone could still launch a write-in campaign.

The filing deadline for write-in candidates is October 31, Duncan said. Filing is not required but is recommended because filed write-in candidates are listed in online results on Election Day.

Beilenson said he hopes that there will be some form of competition for the seat in the general election.

“I think whenever there’s competition for an election, that’s the best way to go,” Beilenson said.

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