McKinney business owner Stan Penn, who was in a runoff race for a seat on the McKinney City Council, announced on Facebook early Thursday morning that he was withdrawing from the race due to negativity on social media.
Penn was expected to face Justin Beller in the June 5 runoff for the District 1 seat. Beller and Penn were the top two finishers, respectively, in the election on May 1. But since Beller failed to secure more than 50% of the vote, it forced a runoff with Penn.
On Facebook, Penn said he was withdrawing due to negativity on social media surrounding the race and that serving on the City Council isn't the best way for him to help the city.
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"Honestly, if I had it to do over again I wouldn't have run and I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy," Penn wrote. "I woke up to being called a liar three times by a fellow Republican and a Democrat saying she wanted to vomit every time she heard my name. I had a great life before this run and honestly thought I could help to make McKinney a better place with a small business perspective. That's not what our city wants and I get that."
In a statement to NBC 5, Penn confirmed he was pulling out of the race and said, "Politics and social media have become a dark force in our country. I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy what I had to endure. It's not worth it."
Penn, who owns The Celt Irish Pub, said he was looking forward to getting back to running his business, "spending time with friends and family and sharing a pint with folks from all political persuasions."
"I realize this announcement will make some very happy and bring disappointment to others. And I truly pray for anyone that wants to run for council and bring change. It's not going to be easy," Penn wrote. "I love this city and will continue to serve to the best of my ability, but it really comes down to being happy and serving the way you can. This isn't my way. I'm sorry for that."
The Collin County Elections Administrator told NBC 5 Thursday afternoon that he had not yet been notified by the city of a formal withdrawal from the race, but that when that is received it would make Beller the winner.