Intentional or not, it turns out that Incumbent 32nd Ward Democratic Committeeman John Fritchey gave his opponent, Ald. Scott Waguespack, one heck of a Valentine’s day gift today: He withdrew from the race, giving Waguespack an unopposed, clear shot to the position.
Fritchey, who is recently divorced and is planning to move to a new apartment, says it’s not about politics, he just did not want to limit his living options.
“There is a strong likelihood that I’m moving in the next three months. I didn’t want to be accused of being in the position of being elected to a four-year term to just step down to name a replacement,” said Fritchey this afternoon.
When contacted for comment this evening, Ald. Waguespack said that he was checking with election officials to see if Fritchey if was actually off the ballot since the deadline for a candidate to remove their name from the ballot was was January 18.
In response, Fritchey says election officials told him his name would remain on the ballot but voters would receive an extra slip of paper on election day notifying them that he is no longer a candidate. Votes cast for Fritchey will simply not be counted.
Despite the drop out drama, Waguespack says he had no clue of Fritchey’s intentions. “I haven’t spoken to him. I don’t know [why he dropped out],” Fritchey said.
Fritchey, who will remain a Cook County Commissioner, claims that if he had stayed in the race, he would have won handily.
“Every indicator we’ve gotten back is that I’m walking away from a very winnable race. This is far from a race I couldn’t win. The response we’ve gotten empirically and at the doors, made this decision that much more difficult.” Fritchey also says he has over $100,000 in the bank and private polling shows him ahead of Waguespack.
Fritchey says no deal was made with Waguespack before he withdrew. “What could he possibly give me?” Fritchey said. “I haven’t talked to Scott in years.”
“It’s not lost on me that people are going to speculate and come up with countless reasons [for why] I’m not running for reelection. I don’t want to limit where I may choose to move based on the committeman post. Nor do I want to put voters in the 32nd Ward through a democratic process only to have someone appointed to the spot for the remainder of the term,” said Fritchey.
“To tell you the truth, my wife just had a baby, so I haven’t had much time to campaign,” says Waguespack. “I haven’t even thought much about it.”