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Unit 5 School Board Candidate Exits Race

Erik Bush at GLT studios
Ryan Denham
Unit 5 school board candidate Erik Bush.

There is now only one contested race for Unit 5 school board in the April 4 election.

Erik Bush of north Normal withdrew his candidacy Wednesday, citing personal reasons. That means his opponent, incumbent Joseph Cleary of Normal, is now uncontested for one of three 4-year positions open on the board.

Bush previously served as Unit 5’s business manager—the district’s chief financial officer—from 2010-2014. Because of his late withdrawal only weeks before the election—early voting and mail-in ballots are underway—Bush’s name will remain on the ballot. Any votes for Bush will not be counted, said McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael.

Bush thanked his supporters in a letter sent to GLT on Wednesday.

“When I circulated my petition, I chose to run to ensure representation on the school board was complete. All too frequently, many local races can go unfilled. When I found out a state law effectively pitted me directly against Board Member Joe Cleary for one seat, I wanted to withdraw then. I believe Mr. Cleary is an excellent candidate and see no reason to directly oppose him, and have told him so personally,” Bush wrote.

“Additionally, the time demands have become much clearer to me. With four vibrant children, I simply wish to spend more effort pouring time into my family. 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," he added.

Due to legal, geographic limitations of who can serve on the board, there is now only one head-to-head race for Unit 5 school board. That’s between newcomers Taunia Leffler and Sol Roberts-Lieb of south Bloomington. They’ll appear on GLT’s Sound Ideas next week.

Incumbent Meta Mickens-Baker of Bloomington and newcomer David W. Fortner of Carlock are running unopposed for Unit 5 board.

You can find sample ballots on the McLean County clerk’s website.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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