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Lawlah Abandons School Board Bid

A state senator who was one of the biggest names among many contenders for Prince George's County Board of Education withdrew today from the campaign, citing concern that her candidacy could become a divisive issue for a school system that needs unity.

Sen. Gloria G. Lawlah's announcement came one month after her surprise decision to enter the school board race in quest of an at-large seat. Earlier, the Prince George's Democrat had decided not to seek reelection after 16 years in the state Senate.

Lawlah's name will remain on the Sept. 12 primary ballot, but she said she would not campaign and would support other school board candidates instead.

Her brief candidacy dominated initial chatter about the first county school board election in six years. Most observers agreed Lawlah was a potent figure in a field of more than 40 candidates, but some critics said she might be too powerful on a nine-member board expected to have several newcomers.

The Prince George's County Educators' Association, which represents about 9,000 public school teachers, declined to endorse her. So did the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO.

"If I'm not going to be a unifying force on the board, I don't want to be a divisive force," Lawlah told The Post in a telephone interview. She said the lack of endorsement from the teachers' union factored into her decision.

Nick Anderson

By Phyllis Jordan  |  August 2, 2006; 4:16 PM ET
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