*** UPDATE *** The Bulldog now has the statement from Ald. Schulter. Read it here ***
Eugene Schulter, 63, has decided to to seek the post of Cook County Board of Review, dropping out of the race for 47th Ward alderman.
Schulter (D-North Center), a City Council veteran since 1975, applied to replace Cook County Democratic chairman Joe Berrios on the Board of Review. His retirement was rumored last year. On January 1st a new pension law went into effect. That law would force Schulter to wait till age 67 to gain a full pension.
A person close to Berrios told The Bulldog Schulter “would never” get Berrios’ approval to fill his spot. The decision, however, is up to Chief Judge of the Circuit Court Tim Evans. Evans said he will be interviewing candidates for the position January 19.
Schulter is one of 11 persons who have applied for the position.
Schulter’s name will appear on the February ballot. The deadline for withdrawing names from the ballot was December 23.
” I don’t want to speculate” about why Schulter is leaving the race, challenger Ameya Pawar said. “I want to thank him for his many years of service and for working to keep property taxes low for the residents of the 47th Ward.”
“It wasn’t surprising given he applied for the job. Too, Tom O’Donnell, who appears to be very close to Schulter, has shown he has some interest,” challenger Tom Jacks said. “The race is now wide-open.”
“He did the right thing,”challenger Matt Reichel said. “We’re looking forward to six weeks of hard work. I look forward to running against O’Donnell.”
“We looking at having the name-recognition and getting the signs up now,” Reichel added.
“We are less than six weeks away from election day and the only person campaigning is Ameya Pawar,” Jack Lydon, a challenger to Schulter in 2003 noted.
Schulter maintains a large war chest. Statements filed with the Illinois Board of Elections indicate the “Citizens for Gene Schulter” had $642,557 in investments and $141,536 in funds available on June 30, 2010. An additional campaign site, controlled by Schulter, “Democratic Party of the 47th Ward,” listed $105,620 on June 30. Schulter can take $221,565 in income from the funds.
Four candidates are seeking to replace Schulter: Matt Reichel (G-Old Ravenswood), Ameya Pawar (I- North Center), Tom O’Donnell (D-Ravenswood) and Tom Jacks (I-Ravenswood).
Messages were left for Tom O’Donnell. He did not reply before the story was filed.