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No independent CP mayoral candidates are on the horizon yet

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 9:46 am
by Ray Gun
No independent CP mayoral candidates are on the horizon yet

POLITICS : Lake Councilman Larry Blanchard declines to leave Republican party to run as mayor

CROWN POINT | The movement to find another Republican to challenge the party's mayoral nominee, Gayle Van Sessen, appears to be coming up empty.

County Councilman Larry Blanchard, R-Crown Point, said Thursday he has decided not to run as an independent mayoral candidate in the fall.

Blanchard's announcement came a few hours after Lake County GOP Chairman John Curley told Blanchard state law mandates that Blanchard would have to resign from the county council if he ran as an independent.
Curley, a staunch supporter of Van Sessen, said he wasn't coercing Blanchard, only giving him friendly advice about the law, which applies to any public official who abandons the party label under which they were elected.

"My words to him were that I was just advising you. I didn't want him to respond," Curley said. "It wasn't me trying to force him to do something."

Blanchard said Thursday his conversation with Curley wasn't rancorous or shocking because he knew from the beginning he would have had to resign his current position.

Curley said the same prohibition would have applied to City Councilman Michael Conquest and Center Township Trustee Eldon Strong, two other Republican officeholders who were being courted by party members to oppose Van Sessen. Curley said both have declined to run.

Van Sessen defeated incumbent Mayor Dan Klein earlier this month by 133 votes in a bitter fight that rankled the city's Republican ranks. Local Republicans had a unity gathering Thursday where some hoped to iron out differences.

"I would like to know who is pushing other people to run," Curley said.

He said those behind the effort are trying to divide the party for personal gains. They should step up and live with the party's choice, Curley said.

State law gives independent candidates until July 2 to file their candidacy for the Nov. 6 general election.

Date posted online: Friday, May 25, 2007
BY BILL DOLAN
bdolan@nwitimes.com
219.662.5328