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Portland school board candidate officially withdraws from race after controversy

Derrick Peterson withdrew from the race last week, but then reversed and reportedly said he'd serve if elected. Now he said he's officially withdrawing.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A controversial Portland school board candidate has dropped out of the race again, less than a week before the May special election.

In a post on Derrick Peterson's website published Wednesday afternoon, he said, "After considering the state of my family’s health and concern for my endorsers and supporters, I am officially withdrawing from the race."

Peterson withdrew from the Portland school board race last week, but then reversed and reportedly said he'd serve if elected.

RELATED: Portland Public Schools board candidate withdraws from race then re-enters, just days before election

He was a longtime captain with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. His campaign faced controversy after reports from Rolling Stone Magazine exposed ties to prominent Christian nationalists. Peterson attended a session held by a pastor who later delivered a fiery speech at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Peterson was granted the title of "apostle" from the pastor's church, the publication reported, and was also listed on the board of an associated anti-abortion nonprofit.

In the statement on his site posted on Wednesday, he addressed the reports and said in part, "Recently, my character and reputation have been called into question. I want to be clear; I am not a Christian nationalist."

Last week, he issued a statement indicating his withdrawal from the race. On Monday, Willamette Week reported that Peterson had texted a current board member on Friday saying he will "remain on the board" if elected.

Peterson never responded to emails or requests for comment from KGW.

The ballots have already been mailed out for Tuesday's election, meaning voters in Portland will still see his name on the ballot. Typically, candidates must make the decision to withdraw about 60 days before ballots are printed.

Election Day is May 16. All ballots must be postmarked or dropped in an election drop box by 8 p.m. that day to be counted. 

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