by BRAD ROLLINS
Texas State University undergraduate John Carl Nesselhauf has ended his short-lived candidacy for the San Marcos City Council Place 5, taking a wild card off the table in what is now a three-way contest.
Nesselhauf, a political science senior and Associated Student Government senator, said his course load is more demanding this semester than he expected and that personal issues came up that keep him from running.
“I didn’t think I could devote my mind to it and I didn’t want to do it half-ass. I want to do it right,” Nesselhauf said.
He officially withdrew his candidacy on Sept. 11, the last day to be removed from the ballot, City Clerk Sherry Mashburn’s office said.
Nesselhauf’s withdrawal simplifies the electoral math for three remaining candidates: Texas State academic advisor and libertarian activist Lisa Marie Coppoletta; aviation repair company owner Shaune C. Maycock; and homebuilder Ryan Thomason, the planning and zoning commission vice chair.
With four candidates in the race, the improbability of one garnering more than 50 percent of the vote all but assured a December runoff election. A runoff election is still possible, if not probable; it is also not as certain.
A resident of San Marcos for only two years who conceded virtually no community involvement off- campus, Nesselhauf was not an obvious favorite by conventional measures. But the student vote, while unreliable, added an unknown variable to the race. Young candidates in particular perennially seek to mobilize university students, sometimes with limited success.
In 2005, then-student Chris Jones defeated incumbent Bill Taylor and kinesiology professor Moe Johnson to become the first Texas State student to serve on the council since Bill Cunningham was elected in 1972. Jones won a second term last year against Coppoletta. On the same ballot, public administration undergrad Daniel McCarthy — benefiting from a bloc of well-organized civil libertarians in addition to students — won nearly 2,563 votes, 19.9 percent, in his challenge to Mayor Susan Narvaiz.
Nesselhauf’s leaving the race was the second thinning of the pack. Before filing closed this month, small business owner Shane Scott exited the Place 5 race and retired civil servant Anita Fuller decided to run for a different council seat.
Also in the Nov. 3 municipal election, San Marcos voters will decide the Place 6 seat in which council member John Thomaides faces two challengers: former Marine and Mary Kay representative Monica Garcia and Fuller. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 5.
CORRECTION Sept 22: This story originally said Thomason resigned as a planning and zoning commissioner to run for city council. He did not. The city charter prohibits council members from serving on more than one municipal legislative body but does not apply to candidates.