It took two months to do it, but Lee Muns made the right decision last week.
On May 2 this newspaper called for Muns to step down from his position as a member of the Columbia County Board of Education, or resign his post as chairman of the Columbia County Republican Party, "or at minimum pledge not to run this year for re-election."
On Wednesday, with or without heeding our advice, Muns announced his decision to not seek re-election to the school board post. Though he will continue to serve two masters for the rest of the year as a non-partisan trustee and as a political party chairman, at least he won't also be campaigning for his own re-election while lining up party support for the Republicans' standard-bearers.
Muns' decision also spares him from confronting his own comments last year, when he interpreted the party's rules to mean he could not serve as party chairman while running for office. At the time, he was quoted as saying signing up for a race would be, in effect, his resignation as party chairman.
That turns out not to be the case. State Republican officials now say the party wouldn't prevent Muns from running, and local GOP rules also don't prohibit it. That doesn't mean, however, that voters would have to accept it -- and chances are good that Muns' opponents would have lustily beaten him over the head with the apparent conflict, turning it into a sure-fire campaign issue.
It doesn't help, either, that much of Muns' attention these days is necessarily tuned to the plight of his son, Chad, who is in the Columbia County Detention Center awaiting trail on more than a dozen sexual-assault charges. While the alleged sins of the son aren't those of the father, it's almost certain the case would have been plowed up in the increasingly ugly political landscape.
In the end, then, Muns' decision not only spares him and his family from several months of additional grief, but it also gets him moving toward an end to the conflict between his public and party service.
This newspaper has supported Muns more often that not, though he often tends to take his loyal opposition routine with school system officials a bit too far. But if he had decided to seek re-election while continuing to serve his party leadership post, we would have called on voters to make a different choice for him.
Fortunately for him, and for the voters, Muns made the right decision on his own.
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