Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) on Monday dropped out of the race to remain that ward’s committeeperson.
An official with the Cook County Clerk’s office said Austin filed paperwork to withdraw her candidacy Monday afternoon.
Austin’s petition signatures had been challenged; she was 409 signatures short of the 925 minimum to get on the ballot, said Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections.
In a nearly page-long explanation for withdrawing, Austin cited a Bible verse: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens.”
“There remains much more to do to keep our community strong, economically vibrant, alive with hope for the future, and a secure place to raise a family and engage in a local business,” Austin’s letter reads. “We in Morgan Park, Roseland, Washington Heights and West Pullman do have our problems, yet we continue to face them and overcome them, together. As this duty comes to an end, it in no way lessens my commitment and dedication to the Democratic Party, community and citizens of this great city.”
Austin serves as a vice chair in the county Democratic party’s leadership ranks. She was an ally of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Mayors Rahm Emanuel and Richard M. Daley.
When Mayor Lori Lightfoot bested Preckwinkle in the April runoff, Austin made her case to remain Budget Committee chairman in the new City Council, promising to be every bit as loyal to Lightfoot as she had been to Emanuel and Daley.
Lightfoot went with 3rd Ward Ald. Pat Dowell instead.
FBI agents raided Austin’s ward office in June as part of ongoing political corruption investigations of Chicago aldermen. Despite the search, Austin decided to run again for the committeeperson position.
In November, Austin said she is confident the ongoing federal investigation won’t end with any indictments — either of her or her relatives, employees or associates.
“I haven’t been charged with anything,” she said. “They’re looking to see if am I associated with something. I am not.”
Chester Wilson, a top aide to the 34th Ward alderman, filed a hefty stack of signatures to help her hold the committeeperson post for the 34th Ward despite federal agents raiding.
When reached by phone to ask about Austin dropping out of the race Monday, Wilson hung up on a Chicago Sun-Times reporter.