A Democratic nominee for DuPage County Board who went public with the possibility that party leaders could ask some candidates to withdraw before the November election has decided to drop out of his race -- but for a different reason.
John Basco said Wednesday he's abandoning his bid for one of two District 3 seats on the county board for personal reasons. His announcement comes a week after he and Hinsdale attorney Julie Renehan were chosen by Democratic voters to be their party's nominees.
"I ran into some hard personal issues I need to address," Basco said. "Unfortunately, I can't give them the focus they need and continue to run."
He stressed his decision had nothing to do with the DuPage Democratic Party's so-called one-candidate strategy.
"This is not a reaction to anyone asking me to step down," the Downers Grove resident said.
Last month, Basco and others said some Democratic county board nominees may be asked to drop out before November so the party can focus its resources on its strongest candidates in districts where it has the best chance of winning seats on the 18-person board that now features 17 Republicans.
One week before the March 20 primary, Basco said he originally agreed to step down if he finished second in the primary, but had changed his mind.
He did wind up finishing second to Renehan in the three-way race for two seats that also included Mehr Qayyum of Burr Ridge.
On Wednesday, Basco said he doesn't want anyone to misinterpret what he's doing.
"I really do feel like if I tell somebody that I'm going to run for office, it's important that I run for office," he said. "I feel bad about stepping down, but things like this have to come first."
To officially drop out, state election officials say, Basco must file a withdrawal of candidacy form.
Once that happens, a committee of Democratic precinct committeemen from county board District 3 will have the authority to select a new nominee, according to Matt Dietrich, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections.
The party has until Aug. 29 to pick a replacement candidate, he said.
Whether that happens remains to be seen.
DuPage Democratic Party Chairman Robert Peickert said he's planning to form a committee next month during the party's county convention that will interview potential candidates.
"I intend to follow our obligations, regardless of how I feel," said Peickert, who supports the one-candidate strategy.
Basco said he's hoping the party replaces him so it has two District 3 candidates to face Republican nominees Greg Hart, an incumbent from Burr Ridge, and Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully.
In addition, he said he wants Qayyum to be his replacement.
"I would love to see her get on the ballot alongside Julie," Basco said. "I think they could both win."
Qayyum could not immediately be reached for comment.
The two candidates who win in November will serve 4-year terms representing the district that covers all or parts of Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Lemont, Naperville, Westmont, Willowbrook and Woodridge.