Northwestern alum suspends campaign for Illinois House seat

Kimberly Railey

Northwestern alumnus Jeff Smith (WCAS ‘77) announced in a news release Tuesday that he will suspend his campaign for the 17th District Illinois House seat.

“I wrote some years ago that despite a candidate’s talent and desire, a lot turns on being in the right place at the right time,” Smith said in the release. “The Democratic primary for the 17th House District in 2012 is in a new place with not enough time for a real primary discussion. The unusually short schedule instead sets up a battle of branding, mainly purchased, with unacceptable levels of political casualties.”

That short schedule was the narrow time frame Smith had to file his nomination papers after current 17th District state Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) announced in early November he would seek election to state Senate. Smith had to collect between 500 and 1,000 signatures by Dec. 5 to appear on the primary ballot.

The decision will leave him more time to return to responsibilities he held prior to the campaign, according to the news release.

“Suspending my campaign will free up many important resources for many other political, professional and personal projects in which I and others were invested when this race suddenly arose,” Smith said in the news release.

Smith is expected to submit papers to withdraw his nomination by Jan. 12, according to the news release. He was the only candidate other than Laura Fine, the clerk of Northfield Township, to file nomination papers, according to the news release.

– Kimberly Railey