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GOP House challenger withdraws from race

The Republican Party lost one of its top state House challengers this week to a conflict that an increasing number of legislators and potential candidates struggle with: balancing work, family and politics.

Candidate Jason Mays, a Republican who had filed to challenge Democratic Rep. Charlie Hoffman of Georgetown in the 62nd House District, told the Herald-Leader Friday that he chose to withdraw from the race in order to pursue an opportunity to one day run a financial planning office in Georgetown.

Mays, 32 and a former assistant men’s basketball coach at Georgetown College, works in Northwestern Mutual Financial Network’s Lexington office.

”When I got out of coaching at Georgetown College, my business plan was to develop my own office in Georgetown to provide first-class financial service,“ Mays said. ”There’s been an opportunity presented to me that would allow me to do that, which I need to concentrate on.“

Mays said he hopes to stay active in Republican politics in Scott County and is disappointed that he couldn’t make the time commitment to campaign and serve in the state legislature.

”That’s not what’s best for my family. That’s a family decision,“ he said. ”It came down to an opportunity financially that I need to take advantage of.“

Mays’ withdrawal, which has not yet been finalized by the state Board of Elections, virtually assures Hoffman of winning a seventh two-year term representing the 62nd district, which includes Scott County and chunk of northern Fayette County.

Hoffman, who is finishing his first term as Democratic House Caucus Chairman, said Thursday that he hadn’t spoken with Mays but ”would like to wish him well.“

”I just would be relieved if my opponent was to drop out,“ he said. ”That would change my plans for the fall and would allow me to focus more on the legislative process.“

Mays is not alone in having to choose between personal demands and a run for office.

A dozen legislative candidates have dropped out of the November election, including veteran Democratic Rep. Rob Wilkey of Scottsville, who decided against seeking a seventh term partially because of the ”continuing challenges“ of balancing legislative duties with his family and his job as a senior officer at Commonwealth Brands Inc.

Mays said the time commitment of campaigning, followed by three full months devoted each year to the General Assembly, makes holding office difficult, especially for young working people.

”It is hard for a 32-year-old with a 20-month-old son and wife who is a teacher to do both,“ Mays said. ”In fact, it’s almost impossible.“

State legislators are considered part-time and are paid only for legislative service days.