Gerber quits race for mayor

Eric Gerber has pulled out of the race for mayor of Oak Harbor.

The city councilman made the surprise announcement in a brief letter he dropped off at the News-Times Friday. Gerber, along with Councilman Bob Morrison and the current mayor, Patty Cohen, are on the ballot for the Sept. 16 primary election.

“I am very sorry to announce that I will no longer be actively campaigning for the office of mayor for the city of Oak Harbor,” he wrote. “Very serious family problems have developed the past four days, in which I must attend to.”

Gerber is encouraging his supporters to vote for Morrison instead. He said that his campaign supporters are in the process of pulling his signs from yards around the community. He didn’t want to comment on the specifics of his family problems.

Despite his intentions, Gerber will still be on the ballot for the primary election. The two top vote-getters will move on to the November election, according to the auditor’s office. Conceivably, Gerber could still be elected mayor even though he has stopped campaigning.

Gerber has taken a grassroots approach to the campaign. He was in the process of knocking on every door in the city to introduce himself and inquire about what issues are most important to residents.

As the city’s former park and recreation director, Gerber has long been a supporter of youth and youth activities in the city. He introduced the idea of funding youth recreation programs while he was a commissioner for the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District.

As a city councilman, Gerber has continued to support kids by starting a special council committee to look at youth opportunities in the community. He spearheaded a youth rally this summer that brought kids and local providers together to talk about what is available and what’s needed for youth in the city.

One of Gerber’s ideas in his campaign for mayor was to bring more sports tournaments to the city. He argued that the tournaments bring in hundreds of visitors, who spend money at local businesses.

Gerber owns his own landscaping business. He is married and has two young sons.

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