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(WBIR) And then there was one.

The second candidate in what was a three-person race for the 7th District Board of Education seat has withdrawn, paving the way for Patti Lou Bounds to take over in September.

Local entrepreneur Andrew Graybeal on Thursday morning pulled out of contest, calling Bounds "the most excellent choice."

"She is immensely qualified and has true hands on experience in the classroom with students, faculty and the parents of the 7th District," he wrote in his withdrawal letter to the Knox County Election Commission. "It is with my highest regards to the citizens of Knox County to stand behind such a great lady, a member and an excellent public servant of the 7th District."

Graybeal had until noon Thursday to submit the official withdrawal paperwork to the commission in order to remove his name from the ballot.

Commission Vice Chairman R. Larry Smith, another candidate, dropped out Wednesday, saying he was impressed by Bounds' educational experience and felt that she was a "better candidate."

Bounds responded Thursday afternoon about Smith's decision to drop out of the race.

"I didn't foresee Mr. Smith withdrawing from the race but we will continue the campaign as it started and that is to reach out to the residents of the 7th district, identify their concerns, and make the educational experience the best possible for the parents, children, teachers and the administration. After all, the children are our future."

Bounds' name will still appear by default on the May 6 non-partisan primary ballot even though she's assured a victory.

Incumbent Kim Severance opted not to seek re-election. The last day of her term is Aug. 31.

Bounds has taught in the Knox County School System for 23 years, including the last 10 as a kindergarten teacher at Brickey-McCloud Elementary School.

According to her first campaign financial disclosure report, which was filed at the end of January, she had not raised any money. That's more than likely changed, although the next report isn't due until April 10.

Smith had just over $24,700 in his campaign bank account at the time he filed, but he said on Wednesday that he would return what he raised in his bid for the seat.

Records indicate that Graybeal did not turn in a disclosure form, but he also hadn't appointed a political treasurer, so it wasn't required.

District 7 includes the Halls and Fountain City area.

There are another four school board seats up for election this year, including the ones for Districts 1, 4, 6 and 9. The school board has nine seats.

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