Judge decides not to run for Congress

Andy Kravetz

Richard Grawey withdrew from the race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood because he was not prepared for the toll the race and the job, if elected, would have on him or his family.

Grawey, a Peoria County circuit judge, had planned to announce his candidacy Monday, even sending out a news release Friday afternoon stating his intentions. By the weekend, though, things changed and on Saturday, he pulled out of the race for the 18th Congressional District seat.

The decision, he said, was made with his family.

"We believed it would have required 100 percent of our time, resources and thoughts, and would have sucked all the air out of our marriage and family life," the 58-year-old judge said Wednesday.

"Neither of us were prepared to do that."

Just last week, Grawey stepped down from his post as chief judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit, which includes Peoria, but remained a circuit judge to allow for a transitional period. Had he opted to run for Congress, he would have had to resign from the bench immediately, according to state law.

Grawey would have been the first Democrat to enter the race. Others considering include former state Rep. Bill Edley, now a Department of Corrections official, and Dick Versace, former Bradley University and NBA basketball coach.

On the Republican side, state Rep. Aaron Schock and John Morris, both of Peoria, have thrown their hats into the ring. Peoria businessman Jim McConoughey is believed to be strongly considering a run as well.

LaHood, R-Peoria, announced in July that he’ll retire when his term ends in 2009. At the time, he said he announced his retirement early to give prospective candidates time to consider a run before next year’s primary, which is being moved up from March 18 to Feb. 5.

Andy Kravetz can be reached at (309) 686-3283 or akravetz@pjstar.com.