Ken Hunter, of Redlands, has withdrawn from the 3rd District Supervisors race and endorsed incumbent Supervisor Neil Derry.

Hunter, 53, a member of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots, said he decided to step aside to prevent San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairman James Ramos from winning the election.

"Whatever happens, I do not want a tribal government taking over our county government," Hunter said in a written statement.

Derry said in a written statement that he welcomed Hunter's endorsement.

"Ken and I share a strong commitment to individual liberty and limited government," Derry said.

Andre Levsque, campaign spokesperson for Ramos, said that Ramos' aggressive campaign schedule showed he had nothing to hide.

"Ultimately the campaign will be about whoever reaches out to voters and communicates the best message to them," Levsque said. "James is somebody who's been completely open and transparent about everything he does and we believe come June, they'll choose him to be their next supervisor."

Three other candidates remain in the race against Derry:

James Ramos, chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
Robert Wilson, of Colton
Jim Bagley, chairman of the San Bernardino County Airport Commission

The newly redrawn 3rd District includes Barstow and sprawls to the southeast to include Lucerne Valley, Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, Yucaipa, Highland, Redlands, Loma Linda, parts of Grand Terrace and Colton, and the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

The supervisor election coincides with the June 5 presidential primary. Candidates may file for the race between Feb. 13 and March 9, according to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or spearson@desertdispatch.com