Daniels, 80, has held the position for 28 years, winning seven consecutive terms since he first gained the spot in 1986.
His withdrawal makes the 2014 trustee’s campaign a two-person affair. Pamela Fitzgerald, who has run against Daniels five times since 1994, and Michael Hartman, the current Washington County Republican Party chairman, are the remaining candidates on the ballot.
“I did it,” Daniels said late Thursday. “It was a tough decision. I’ll be honest with you, I couldn’t have told you at 10 a.m. what I was going to do. When I ran for this term four years ago, I was pretty much settled that I would retire this term. I was hoping Judy Harris, the chief deputy and bookkeeper, would run. If she had agreed to run, I would not have picked up papers. That was my objective, but it didn’t work.”
The Jonesborough native said he will now have an opportunity to spend more time with his three children and three grandchildren.
“I’ll miss the people I work with,” he said. “I learned how much they respect me today. I feel very honored and privileged to have been able to serve.”
Daniels, who plans to stay in town, graduated from Jonesborough High School and later graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in accounting. He worked at several retail outlets in the area until he was hired by the state of Tennessee as an auditor. He became Washington County’s trustee following that job.
“I have a great deal of respect for Jack,” said County Mayor Dan Eldridge. “He is the most conservative person I’ve ever met, particularly in his management of Washington County’s resources.”
Daniels said he feels Hartman has what it takes to fill his shoes.
“I’m very impressed with him,” Daniels said. “He’s got an excellent work ethic, and I think he would make a good successor.”