COLUMBIA — Eastside Tavern owner Sal Nuccio has dropped out of the race for the First Ward City Council seat.
In the fall, Nuccio and several other candidates declared their interest in the race to unseat First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton. But on Tuesday, only two days before official filing papers must be submitted to the City Clerk’s office, Nuccio announced on his MySpace page that he will no longer be running.
All candidates must have their papers filed, including signatures of 50 supporters from their ward, by 5 p.m. Thursday.
Nuccio said an outstanding city utility bill he was unaware of was the final sign he should drop out.
“Once I made this decision I feel like a big load was taken off me, and it reduced my stress level in half,” Nuccio said. “I had the money to cover my stuff, but I originally only did the campaign for a publicity stunt, but then people started taking it seriously,”
Recent opportunities to expand the Eastside Tavern also caused Nuccio to exit the race.
“This business opportunity has presented itself to me that is taking my attention and focus,” he said. “I’m working on an opportunity to expand and make (the tavern) into more of a restaurant and pizzeria during the day and at night the same old little rock and roll bar it’s always been.”
Nuccio’s MySpace announcement offered an alternative in the council race for his supporters. He endorsed fellow downtown businessman Paul Sturtz, co-owner of Ragtag Cinema and co-founder of the True-False Film Festival.
“He’s a downtown businessman, and downtown is my concern,” Nuccio said. “He’s got the credentials, and I know he’s a good man. Plus, I know how to get in touch with him. I’m going to go to him with my complaints all the time.”