Jay Krasne has filed papers to pull his name off the March 20 primary ballot and not seek the Republican nomination for the Lake County Board District 13 seat.
Krasne said Friday he dropped out because he wasn't the clear front-runner, and any votes that would have gone his way could have pushed former state Senator David Barkhausen to victory over candidate Rick Lesser and himself.
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"By staying in, the votes would have been split between Rick and I, and Barkhausen would have been elected," he said. "I don't support Barkhausen, never have, and staying in would have potentially put Barkhausen in office."
Krasne issued a news release saying he is supporting Lesser to help the 56-year-old small business owner get elected to the county board seat.
"It's a pleasure to endorse and work with Rick, whom I regard as a man of very high integrity -- much-needed in Illinois politics at all levels these days," Krasne said in the release. "I'm confident he will represent a broad perspective for the betterment of the entire district -- not just one community's interests. We are fortunate to have a candidate of his caliber to represent us."
Krasne, a 57-year-old real estate broker from Gurnee, was slated to run against Lesser and Barkhausen, a 61-year-old life insurance consultant, for the Republican nomination in District 13.
The district serves all of Lake Bluff and portions of Gurnee, North Chicago and Waukegan.
The winner will face the Democratic nominee -- Robert Glueckert of Warren Township, Sandra Hart of Lake Bluff, or Anthony Soler of Waukegan -- in the November general election.
Attempts to reach Barkhausen for reaction were unsuccessful Friday.
"I think it's a very positive thing for everyone concerned," Lesser said of Krasne's support. "I like Jay, he's a regular citizen just like I am. He's an honest and intelligent guy and I'm glad to have his support."
Krasne's departure from the race came days after he called on Barkhausen to release details about a 17-year-old state and federal investigation while he was a state senator. It focused on his alleged use of a $57,000-a-year district allowance to help fund his personal business.
The investigation was dropped in 1995, the same year Barkhausen decided not to seek re-election to the state Senate.
Barkhausen has said there is nothing to disclose because no charges were filed and he was cleared of any wrongdoing. He said the allegations were politically motivated, and he chose not to run for re-election to spend more time with his family, not because of the investigation.
Lesser said he and Krasne had lunch Thursday prior to Krasne dropping out of the race.
"We like each other, we are both honest and reasonable people, and think that we need a representative in the district who will do a good job," Lesser said. "I am wholeheartedly accepting his support and I'm glad to have his help."
Krasne said the decision was a tough one to make, but he did it for the right reasons.
"If you would have told me 10 days ago that I would be dropping out, I'd have asked you what planet you live on," he said. "But, getting good government in Lake County is more important than me winning. And, Rick Lesser is good for government. So, for the good of Illinois and for the good of Lake County, I needed to step down."