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Michigan city council candidate who wanted to keep community as white "as possible" leaves race

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Jean Cramer seen Aug. 22, 2019, at Marysville, Mich., City Hall. AP

A candidate for city council in Michigan dropped out of the race Monday, after garnering nationwide criticism for stating she wanted to keep her community "a white community as much as possible." The city's mayor said she urged her to withdraw from the race and told CBS News he was "thankful" she did so.

Former Marysville, Michigan, city council candidate Jean Cramer made the controversial comments on Thursday during a candidate forum. A moderator asked Cramer and the other candidates if the city should be doing more to attract foreign-born residents. She answered: "Keep Marysville a white community as much as possible."

She then doubled down, adding, "White. Seriously. In other words, no foreign-born, no foreign people." 

Cramer was later asked by The Times Herald in Port Huron if she wanted to clarify her comments and she explained she didn't think people of different races should wed.

"Husband and wife need to be the same race. Same thing with kids," Cramer told the outlet. "That's how it's been from the beginning of, how can I say, when God created the heaven and the earth." While the statements garnered shocked responses from other candidates at the forum, she maintained that her comments were not racist.

During a follow-up interview with the outlet on Friday, she became more resolute on her position. "As far as I know, as long as we've been here, Marysville has been a white community, a white city," she said, according to The Times Herald.

Marysville is approximately 55 miles northeast of Detroit and is home to 9,700 residents, over 90% of whom are white, according to The Associated Press.

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The letter provided to CBS News by the city's mayor, does not specify Cramer's reason for withdrawing from the race. Mayor Dan Damman

Marysville Mayor Dan Damman told CBS News her "racist" comments were "as vile as they were jaw dropping" and that he "urged her" to withdraw her candidacy.

"Mrs. Cramer's disturbing and disgusting ideology was flatly rejected by me, our entire City Council, all of City Administration and our employees," said Damman. 

Damman confirmed the city received a one-sentence letter Monday, stating that Cramer withdrew from the race. "I am writing this to withdraw as a city council candidate for the City of Marysville election, November 5, 2019," reads the letter Damman provided to CBS News. There is no mention as to the reason for ending her run.

"I am very thankful that Mrs. Cramer has withdrawn from the city council race," Damman said. "Public sentiment from our residents was swift and bold as they rejected her ideology. It is my sincere hope that she withdrew because she recognized that her belief system and ideology have no place in public service; not in Marysville, not anywhere." 

Cramer has not previously served on the city's council, Damman said. She was one of five candidates vying for three council seats this fall. 

While she has withdrawn from the race, her name will still remain on the November 5 election ballot, the city manager told The Times Herald in Port Huron. He said city officials spoke with the state and it was decided she would have to have left the race by its April 26 withdrawal date for her name to be removed.

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