Longtime Burlington City Councilor Dave Hartnett has withdrawn from the race for the North District seat he currently occupies.
The New North End Democrat said he made the decision last week due to a series of family obligations, which he refused to specify. The announcement comes as a surprise: The eight-year incumbent had already submitted his petition for reelection and earned the Democratic endorsement at the party caucus last month.
The native Burlingtonian said he notified Mayor Miro Weinberger and Democratic Party leadership on Friday. "I could run and win, but it was about whether I could serve with 110 percent," Hartnett said.
Hartnett, who manages a convenience store on North Avenue, had earned a reputation as a man of the people, outspoken and unpolished, unafraid to stake out a political position on his own.
Being involved in the local political scene is "who I am by nature," Hartnett said, adding that he struggled not to go knock on doors even after hewithdrew his name on Friday. He dispelled rumors that the decision was political or that there was any family illness. "There are some things I have to take care of," he said.
Hartnett said he backed out of the race in time for a fellow Democrat to get involved. Officers of the city party can select a nominee if a candidate has withdrawn, chair Stephanie Young wrote in an email to Seven Days. They have yet to set a meeting date, she said. Petitions to run must be filed with the city clerk by January 28.
One candidate, independent Kienan Christianson, has already stepped forward and received the Progressive nomination. He said he may also seek the Democratic nomination.