This was the rather angry question asked by an anonymous (what else?) commenter in response to a recent blog post.
Well, sir (or madam), who's asking you to believe that no deals were made?
For the sake of the now-former candidate in question, who, by the way, I do not know, I hope he cut a great deal, complete with solemn promises and maybe even blood oaths of future support.
The particular candidate would not be the first to withdraw in response to a request from the Democratic Party. Not even close. It happens in every election cycle, so far as I know.
And that's if the candidate was in fact requested to step aside. My angry and anonymous commenter dismissed outright the possibility that the candidate may have decided that he did not like being a judge as much as he thought he would. But I couldn't say that for certain. Oddly enough, candidates do not routinely confide in me about such matters. And by routinely, I mean candidates never confide in me about such things. Why should they?
Nor did I speculate on the withdrawing candidate's motives in my post. I wrote -- and this is a fact -- that the candidate would have been running against the Democratic Party and its slated candidate. There may be those in the Party who would not look kindly on a person who runs against their candidate today and then seeks the Party's support in a future race. The slated candidate will have fundraising and other advantages that an unslated candidate, even one who happens to be an appointed judge, would have difficulty matching. In the particular case, the candidate was also facing a challenge to his nominating petitions when he withdrew. Perhaps there was a problem with the petitions. Perhaps the challenge was eminently survivable -- but the cost of fighting to stay on the ballot may have been pretty steep. FWIW readers know how often challenges are filed against judicial candidates. It isn't very nice, but there is nothing illegal, so far as I know, about mounting a ballot challenge against a candidate with an eye toward diverting that candidate's resources from campaigning (assuming, of course, that there is a good faith basis for the challenge in the first place).
And there are other factors a candidate might consider. A candidate might have a partnership to return to while waiting for the next election cycle or a reasonably good expectation of another judicial appointment. There are any number of personal factors that an individual candidate can and should be able to evaluate, with or without the assistance of his or her family and friends, about whether to stay in a race or step aside.
What am I missing? Have I been simmering so long in the cynical cesspool of Cook County politics that, even as a mere observer, my moral compass has been thrown off kilter?
These, by the way, are serious, as opposed to rhetorical, questions.
It seems to me that, since we elect judges in this state, candidates for that office are entitled to take political considerations into account when assessing their chances for success now or in the future and to act accordingly, according to their own best judgment. But that's just my opinion, clearly labeled as such. Readers, what say ye?
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