NORMAL — Erik Bush has withdrawn his name from the ballot for a seat on the McLean County Unit 5 Board of Education.

Bush, 48, of Normal said Wednesday he is ending his campaign due to a state law setting geographic restrictions on candidates in the race and for personal reasons.

Bush was among five candidates vying for three, four-year seats in the April 4 election, but a state law designed to ensure geographical balance on school boards meant he was in a head-to-head race with incumbent Joseph Cleary.

The board may have no more than three members from one congressional township. Bush and Cleary both live in congressional township 24N range 2E, in Normal Township, which already has two members on the board.

“When I found out a state law effectively pitted me directly against board member Joe Cleary for one seat, I wanted to withdraw,” said Bush. “I believe Mr. Cleary is an excellent candidate and see no reason to directly oppose him.

"I didn’t want him to get the idea that I was running because I was unsatisfied with what he’s doing.”

Cleary, who was appointed to the board last year, thanked Bush for his support.

"I respect Erik's willingness to step up and serve his community and Unit 5 and appreciate his support for the upcoming school board term," he said. "I wish nothing but the best for Erik and his family in the future."

Bush also cited time demands as a component of his withdrawal.

“I simply wish to spend more effort pouring time into my family,” said Bush. “Unfortunately, I also have health issues that require intentional care and treatment and I do not see how I will be able to take care of myself and my family, as well as properly serve on the Unit 5 school board.”

Bush said he hopes to see the elected board members work with the teachers union through decision making, especially surrounding finances.

The remaining candidates running for the three, four-year terms are Cleary, Solomon “Sol” Roberts-Lieb of Bloomington, David Fortner of rural Carlock and Taunia Leffler of rural Bloomington. Roberts-Lieb and Leffler also are effectively in a head-to-head race because only one of the two can be elected under the same state law, assuming incumbent Meta Mickens-Baker of Bloomington wins in her unopposed run for a two-year seat.

Follow Julia Evelsizer on Twitter: @pg_evelsizer

Roger Miller contributed to this report.


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