John M. Taylor's campaign for Pasco County Commission ended Friday with a two-sentence letter. He was quitting the race he had roiled exactly three months earlier.
"That is awesome news," said County Commissioner Ted Schrader, whose Nov. 4 re-election became virtually doubtless. "I was surprised it took him this long to do it."
Raising only $100 while never giving a stump speech, Taylor managed to stop 170,000 people from voting in the race for the District 1 post.
Taylor was a write-in candidate against the two Republicans in the Aug. 26 primary, Schrader and John Nicolette.
Because no one from another party was on the ballot, state law permitted only the county's 110,000 Republicans to vote in the Schrader-Nicolette race.
Taylor, 50, a manager in a Tampa office furniture company, had ties to Nicolette, a rancher and Tampa firefighter whose campaign focused on wooing conservative Republicans.
Taylor had signed a petition to get Nicolette on the 2008 ballot. He had bought land in Darby from Nicolette in 2003. A Nicolette yard sign went up outside the rural Wesley Chapel mobile home listed as Taylor's residence when he filed to run June 19.
Taylor had listed a Lutz address for his homestead tax exemption. Democrats sued, alleging he lacked residency to be a candidate, disenfranchising voters.
Democrats dropped the case after Taylor asserted he was paying bills as a resident of the mobile home and building a home on the Darby land.
Taylor did not return calls seeking comment Friday. He and Nicolette said Nicolette had no role in Taylor's candidacy. They also said only Republicans should vote in the primary. Schrader defeated Nicolette in the primary by almost 3,000 votes.
Thursday night, an organizer for the Holiday VFW post's Oct. 5 candidate forum heard from Taylor.
Judy Kennedy said she had sent an invitation to his Wesley Chapel address. He hadn't responded, so she had left a phone message.
"I don't live there," Kennedy recalled Taylor saying. "I live someplace else."
Moreover, he said he was withdrawing. Kennedy asked why.
"I did what I was told," Taylor said in Kennedy's account, "and I accomplished what I did."
Friday afternoon, his two-sentence letter arrived at the supervisor of elections office.
David DeCamp can be reached at [email protected] or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6232.