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Republican Lee Spruill suspending campaign for Cumberland Board of Commissioners

Endorses Patel, Tyson and Pappas in March 5 GOP primary


Republican V. Lee Spruill III has suspended his campaign for Dist. 2 of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners.

“When this campaign started, I was extremely excited about it,” Spruill said on Thursday, the opening day of early voting for the March 5 primary. But he recently concluded his work and family responsibilities would make it difficult for him to put sufficient time into the job of serving in the office.

The GOP primary for Dist. 2 has eight candidates. Dist. 2 is a multi-member district with three seats, so three vote-getters in the Republican primary will advance to the general election in November to face three Democratic candidates.

If, despite suspending his campaign, Spruill wins one of the three GOP spots on the general election ballots, he said he will not pursue a seat.

“Honestly, I was feeling rather overwhelmed recently, trying to balance my priorities, to include the campaign, without giving any of them my best,” Spruill said in a statement on Facebook to his supporters announcing that he is ending his campaign.

“My foremost commitment is to my family, especially during this busy, yet rewarding time in life,” he wrote. He and his wife have two school-age children.

‘Always do what matters most’

Spruill said in his interview with CityView on Thursday he was recently thinking and praying about the race, considering whether to stay in, when a friend texted with advice: “When you can’t do what you’ve always done, always do what matters most.”

He published his decision to his supporters on Wednesday, he said.

“While stepping back from this campaign is not an easy choice, I am confident it is the right one,” the announcement says.

Mail-in voting for the March 5 primary began in January and in-person early voting started Thursday.

Spruill’s name remains on the ballot as the deadline for people to withdraw their candidacies was in December.

Announces support for three others

The county commissioners’ race drew attention — with eight Republicans and four Democrats filing for the three seats — after incumbent Republicans Michael Boose and Jimmy Keefe announced they were not running for re-election and will retire from office. Democratic incumbent Toni Stewart is seeking reelection.

Among the remaining seven Republican candidates, Spruill told his supporters he favors three.

“Although it is too late to take my name off the ballot for the primary, I want to assure you that there are other outstanding Republican candidates who share similar visions and ideas for our county such as Henry Tyson, Pavan Patel and Peter Pappas,” he wrote. “I have full faith in their ability to lead and make a positive impact.”

He told CityView he plans to return the campaign money he raised to the donors.

Two of eight stepped back from GOP race

Spruill is the second of the eight Republicans to announce they will not campaign for the county commission primary. The other is Venus de la Cruz.

Despite her announcement in January that she would not campaign, Venus de la Cruz said her husband, Republican state House Dist. 44 candidate Freddie de la Cruz, has put up campaign signs at early voting sites to promote her.

“You can’t tell Freddie ‘no,’ if he’s determined,” Venus de la Cruz said.

“And I’m just going to go with it, and I’ll tell you what: If I do make it through the primary, then clearly I’m going to put my whole heart into it. I’ll put everything into it” for the general election, she said.

Senior reporter Paul Woolverton can be reached at 910-261-4710 and pwoolverton@cityviewnc.com.

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election 2024, cumberland county, board of commissioners