Tuesday, March 27, 2007

18th Ward Run-Off

I was reading the two links provided in the Capitol Fax Blog's Morning Shorts and this race got strange quick. How do I begin?

Well the challenge who should run drew enough votes to be in a run-off but he decided he couldn't run because he didn't have no cash. The fact that he was going to drop out of the race didn't end the contest as the third place winner gets to run against the incumbent now. This cause the second place winner to put his plans on hold. Confused? Here's the deal...

Chicago aldermanic candidate Paul Stewart was planning to drop out of the 18th Ward race because he couldn't raise enough money -- but he put those plans on hold Monday after he learned his exit would not automatically end the one-on-one runoff contest.

"I'll have to go back in consultation with my campaign committee," Stewart said. "The decision may still be the same. The decision may change. I'm not going to make an assumption up or down right now."

The former city official said he initially thought his departure would leave Ald. Lona Lane with no opposition in the April 17 runoff to succeed former Ald. Thomas Murphy, who was elected judge.

But the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners determined Monday that Lane would face the candidate who received the next highest tally in the February election: third-place finisher Joseph C. Ziegler Jr.

Stewart said he wants to inform his committee about the finding, but he conceded little has changed.

"We still don't have the money," he said.

Hmmm. Not sure what to say about it though. Perhaps his campaign didn't manage their money correctly. Now is the time to hustle too since he's in a runoff. If he doesn't feel he can compete then perhaps Stewart needs to get out of the way and try it again next time. Here's more...
"Maybe by virtue of the fact that this has transpired, there may be increased interest in the race," Stewart said. "Maybe that will be enough to get my message out."

Ziegler didn't learn he might be back in the race until Monday, when reporters started calling. He suggested Stewart, a former city employee, may be jumping in and out of the race just to block other challenges to Lane, who was endorsed by Mayor Richard Daley.

"Whether you play offense or defense, you play for the same team and the same coaches," Ziegler said. "It's still politics in Chicago."

Ziegler wasn't sure what he would do if his name was put back on the ballot. He received only 11.3 percent of the vote in February.

"As a candidate I'm placed at a severe disadvantage because I've lost 30 days of campaigning," Ziegler said. "I have kind of returned to work, and I have not thought one way or another about re-entering the race. Three weeks before Election Day you can't really launch a legitimate campaign."

If both Stewart and Ziegler drop out, fourth-place finisher Sydney Washington and last-place finisher Eldora Davis each get a shot in turn, Allen said.

Lane's campaign tried to stay out of it.

"We haven't gotten anything from the board of elections confirming it," spokesman Maze Jackson said. "Until then, Ald. Lane is focused on helping her constituents -- regardless of who runs."

This should be a textbook case of being prepared for any outcome. I suppose it's impossible to see the unforseen outcome. Still while I suppose you do have to look at any future debt, perhaps a campaign should just have a little fund off to the side in case of runoff.

Then again I'm no expert. I won't prentend that I know much about how to raise money, how to account for it, and even how to save it.

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