A candidate for a Portland school board seat is dropping out of the race after local and national news coverage have highlighted his connection to church leaders with Christian nationalist views.
Derrick Peterson denied those affiliations to media outlets.
Peterson said in a statement Wednesday that the coverage has taken a toll on his family and distracts from the work that needs to be done at Portland Public Schools.
Peterson is a former deputy with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. He had received support from current board members and was endorsed by Willamette Week and The Oregonian.
There is another candidate in the race for Zone 3, retired teacher Patte Sullivan.
Peterson’s name will still appear on ballots. He said in his statement that if he wins the race he will resign and allow the Portland Public Schools board to fill the seat.
“My intent was only to serve my community and our youth,” he wrote. “I believe this is the best way to do so.”
Three other Portland Public Schools board races have one candidate each. Positions for Zones 1 and 2 are held by incumbents Andrew Scott and Michelle DePass, who are both running for reelection. The sole candidate in the Zone 7 race is Eddie Wang, a former teacher and business owner.