One of Durham’s GOP primary opponents withdraws

One of the Republicans originally set to vie for the seat held by embattled Franklin GOP Rep. Jeremy Durham is stepping aside and endorsing another challenger, reports The Tennessean.

Shane McNeill, a Spring Hill attorney, says he will no longer seek the Republican nomination for the 65th House District. Instead, he’s backing (Sam) Whitson, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army.

“After lengthy discussions with Sam Whitson and my family, I have determined that it’s in the best interests of the citizens of the 65th District that only one of us proceed with our campaign,” McNeill said in a news release distributed by Whitson.

“I have gotten to know Colonel Whitson recently, and I am incredibly impressed with him. He is a man of deep integrity who shares my conservative values and common-sense vision for this great state.”

Although the deadline to file a petition to run for office passed last week, candidates could officially withdraw before noon Thursday. McNeill was the only candidate to withdraw from the race for the 65th District. In theory, more candidates in a primary for local office tends to help an incumbent, but that varies from race to race.

Note: The Division of Elections has updated its list of candidates qualifying for this year’s elections, HERE, following passage of the withdrawal deadline Thursday. The list shows Whitson sill has another Republican challenger in the primary against Durham, Stacey L. Givens of Fairview.