Former Johnson City mayor backs off campaign to unseat state Rep. Micah Van Huss

Former Johnson City Mayor Steve Darden says he wants to withdraw from a challenge to state Rep. Micah Van Huss in the state House District 6 Republican primary, reports the Johnson City Press, but apparently his name will remain on the ballot.

The regular deadline for withdrawing as a candidate was April 12. (The situation differs from Rep. Gerald McCormick’s withdrawal from the House District 26 race this week since incumbent McCormick’s move left no GOP candidate on the August ballot, triggering a law that allows new candidates to qualify. In District 6, Van Huss remains on the ballot, unopposed in the primary.)

 “I’ve struggled with the impact that pursuing this political office and serving in Nashville would have on me and my family, our law firm and my law practice,” said Darden, who works as a mediator for Hunter, Smith & Davis Law Firm. 

“After careful consideration and much prayer, my family and my profession must come first, and so I’ve made the difficult yet clear decision to withdraw and focus on those things.”

Reached by phone Monday, Darden said the worst part of the situation is he had already met with people and requested their vote. 

“The worst part is I either met or already knew folks who were planning to vote for me, who I had asked to vote for me, and now I’m not actively seeking the office,” Darden said. 

“Things come up and change in a practice like ours, which I really can’t elaborate on. Your kids never stop being your kids, and it’s just not appropriate for me to take the time now to campaign or serve.”

Darden said his campaign had already made “some investment” to be ready for a now defunct campaign launch. 

“I had some folks encourage me to just go ahead and put up some signs, launch my website and so forth (to) see what happens. But if I’m not going to pursue it aggressively then I don’t think that’s the right thing to do,” said Darden, who served a decade on the Johnson City Commission.

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