By Hiroko Soto
GROTON -- The selectmen's race is no longer contested after Justin Halleran withdrew his candidacy for the board Monday morning.
Incumbent Selectmen Stuart Schulman of Chicopee Row and Joshua Degen of Martin Pond Road, who are both seeking re-election to the board, will face no challengers after Halleran's change of plan. When contacted, Halleran, of Pleasant Street, only cited "personal reasons" for withdrawing.
"There will always be another time," Halleran said, adding that something unexpected has come up in his life.
Degen said Halleran called him early Monday morning with the news and said his girlfriend was sick.
"I feel bad for him," Degen said.
Schulman, who has said he decided to run only because no one else was going to step up to volunteer for the position, said Halleran, manager at Groton Exchange, would have been a great addition to the slate of candidates.
"I appreciated his interest," Schulman said, adding that Halleran has attended some selectmen's meetings. "He was taking it seriously," Schulman said.
Halleran has stopped campaigning and will not appear at the Candidates Night, which the Groton Republican Town Committee and the Groton Democratic Town Committee will host tonight at 7:30 at the Senior Center. Halleran's name will remain on the ballot, however, as March 28 was the last day to make such a change, according to Town Clerk Michael Bouchard.
Should Halleran win the election and refuse to be sworn in, the town would need to hold a special election to elect someone else, Bouchard said. Halleran said Monday he will not accept the position even if he wins.
The Water Commission has two candidates. David Crocker of Lowell Road and Mark Deuger of Skyfields Drive, are vying for one three-year seat. This is now the only contested race in the annual town election, which will be held on April 30.
Even though he feels sympathetic to the circumstances that forced Halleran to drop out of the race, Degen said, it is nice not to have to wage a formal campaign for the position.
"My $750-per-year paycheck is secure," Degen said jokingly.
"I echo that," Schulman said.
Degen and Schulman plan to attend the candidates night event to explain their positions on various issues.