By Jeff Gallatin
Challenger Robert Hickey has withdrawn from the Ward 2 City Council race in North Olmsted, leaving incumbent Paul Barker without any opposition.
In a short, handwritten letter to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections dated Sept. 18, Hickey announced his withdrawal from the race.
“Please accept this letter as an official withdrawal of my name for the position of City Council, Ward 2 in North Olmsted for the November 2013 election,” Hickey said in the letter. “I do not have the time and energy necessary to adequately campaign and/or fulfill the responsibilities of this position.”
When contacted by West Life, Hickey said he just doesn’t have the time right now to be an effective city councilman.
“I thought if I don’t have the time to run a proper campaign right now, then I definitely won’t have the time to be a good city councilman for the residents,” he said.
Hickey said he does believe the residents are in good hands with Barker.
“I was impressed by my conversation with him,” Hickey said. “He’s very knowledgeable about what’s going on and cares about the city and the residents. We are best served by him being the the councilman right now.”
Hickey said he would like to run for public office again sometime in the future when he has more time.
Board of elections officials said because of the late date, Hickey’s name will be on the ballot, but said they will have signs posted prominently at Ward 2 polling places saying Hickey has withdrawn from the race.
Hickey had been the only person to file against Barker, who is currently the chairman of City Council’s Finance Committee and the senior member of council, with about eight and a half years on council. He was appointed to the seat after John Dailey resigned to become a director in Thomas O’Grady’s administration. He ran unopposed to win his first term, then defeated retired Westlake police officer Pat Kelley to win his second term.
Barker said Friday he appreciated the opportunity to talk with Hickey.
“We had a good conversation,” Barker said. “He indicated that he was withdrawing from the race because he didn’t have the time and that he was supporting me. I respect his decision and appreciate his interest in the city.”