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Willie Spears has apparently ended his short-lived run for Escambia County Superintendent of Schools.

Spears filed to run for the post on March 21. In a post to his campaign’s Facebook page, Spears cites the entrance into the race of Democratic candidate Claudia Williams, who filed to run just days after Spears.

“My strategy for winning the election was compromised when a Democratic candidate filed this past Friday,” said Spears. “My decision to run was based on Malcolm Thomas running unopposed, that has changed. That, mixed with my heart strings being connected with Vernon High School, has lead me to continue working as Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at the best school in the panhandle.”

“Escambia County I wish you the best,” Spears added.

Williams, a former school board member, has run for Superintendent twice under her former name of Claudia Brown-Curry, losing by a wide margin each time. Spears’ concern, however, seems to be that Williams would split the vote to the point where he no longer has a path to victory.

Spears is the former head football coach at Escambia High School, where he served until he was fired in September 2014 after choosing to play six football players that he’d been told by district officials couldn’t play. Thomas suspended Spears and recommended that the school board terminate him, a move the board narrowly approved in a controversial 3-2 vote. After a stint as a local morning TV host, Spears moved to Vernon, Fla., north of Panama City, to accept a head coaching position.

Williams lost her previous bids for the superintendent position in 2008 and 2012 by 19 and 27 points respectively.

More on this story as it develops.

 

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