VIRGINIA BEACH — Justin Burns, a Virginia Wesleyan University student who had been seeking an at-large seat on the Virginia Beach School Board, dropped out of the race in late August, and his name does not appear on the ballot in Virginia Beach.
Burns today said he decided to leave the race after not being able to campaign due to restrictions related to the novel coronavirus. He signed paperwork to end his candidacy on Wednesday, Aug. 26, according to a record filed with the Virginia Beach Department of Voter Registration & Elections.
“I withdrew to support another candidate who I believe has a better chance of winning,” Burns said during a telephone interview this afternoon. “We were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and not being able to do much.”
Burns said he is supporting incumbent Beverly Anderson, a former School Board chairperson, and challenger Lauren Logan. More information about his support for those candidates will be forthcoming, he said.
There are two at-large seats on the ballot this year. Incumbent Victoria Manning and challengers Matthias Paul Telkamp and Jeffrey “Doc” Feld are also in the at-large race. The top two vote-getters among the five remaining candidates each earn a seat.
Burns has attracted media attention this year due to his youth – he is studying psychology at VWU – and because his campaign nearly didn’t make the ballot this year due to a shortage of valid petition signatures.
In June, the Virginia Beach Electoral Board voted to allow Burns to appear on the ballot after his campaign appealed to the board and provided additional information about some signatures.
“We worked really hard to get on the ballot,” Burns said today. “We went through the appeal and did everything that we could, but in the end our strategy and our being able to reach the voters wasn’t working.”
Burns, a Bayside High School graduate who lives in the Kempsville area, said he may someday run again for public office, but it likely would be a few years down the road after he completes graduate school studies.
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