-By Warner Todd Huston
The Republican primary for the 52nd District is down to one. Champaign County Board member Alan Nudo, 63, has announced he’s withdrawing from the race, leaving reformer John Bambenek as the lone Republican in the primary.
I wrote about Nudo on January 13 when I reported that in 2006 and 2007 he was involved in a company that made several large campaign donations to the Democrat he would have ostensibly faced this November. I received images of canceled checks from Triple R Development, LLC made out to Democrat State Senator Mike Frerichs when he was first running for office starting in 2006. Nudo’s signature appeared on those checks.
Senator Frerichs further claimed that Nudo personally handed him one of those checks during that campaign. Via email Frerichs told me that he felt that Nudo was a strong supporter and expressed surprise when Nudo announced last year that he intended to run for the Senator’s seat.
At first, Nudo claimed he had no part in the donations. He did admit he signed the checks as a principal of Robesons’s Inc., the company he owns that does the accounting for Triple R Development.
“I sign every check there is for Triple R Development because our company does their accounting. Our company handles all the day-to-day operations. But what does any of this have to do with this race,” Nudo told the News Gazette.
On his Statement of Economic Interests, Alan Nudo did list Triple R Development as his “business entity.”
As an aside, in that News Gazette story I link above, Nudo charged that I was “working together” with Democrat Mike Frerichs. This is something I simply have to address as it is a charge leveled directly at me.
I contacted Senator Frerichs about the donations because on Frerichs finance page on the Illinois Secretary of States office, Triple R is listed as having donated to him. Knowing that Nudo is part of Triple R I contacted the Senator to see what he remembered of these donations.
We exchanged about five emails. My first asking him about it. His replying he’d look into it. Mine thanking him. His then sending me the info. Mine thanking him again.
If writing an email asking the Senator if he had ever gotten donations from someone and if he had proof of the same is “working together,” then I guess I was. But that was the extent of my “working together” with Democrat Frerichs. I asked a question of an elected official and he responded. That was that. I didn’t even talk to the Senator on the phone!
My integrity was also attacked by a surrogate of Nudo’s over this whole incident. One Eric Bussell of Champaign attacked me on his own blog for reporting about this race. Amusingly, he never addressed Senator Frerichs’s claim that Nudo handed him one of the checks personally whilst expressing his hearty support. Bussell just glossed right over that part of the story in his criticism of me (his commenters even take him to task for it in the comments section). It should be noted that I am not holding Nudo to account for what someone else said, but I just needed to address the criticism of me before I put this all to bed.
Anyway, after all that, Nudo decided that he doesn’t want to be involved in a “vitriolic campaign” for the legislature.
“I just came to the conclusion that this early in the game, with the kind of comments that started even after I announced, and continued like a drumbeat, that I would have to change myself to respond to it,” Nudo said.
Oddly, Nudo also resigned from the Champaign County Board to which he was elected in 2008. His reason was as follows: “I don’t think I can be effective. People will look at me in a jaundiced way and I don’t want to do that.”
I have to say, we can applaud Mr. Nudo’s desire to avoid such a fight. I’m not so sure there was any “vitriol” in this race as from what I’ve seen in the press and from what I personally posted it was issue oriented not personal but it is still admirable that Alan Nudo wanted to spare the voting public any angst.
The Illinois Republican Party needs all the unity it can get and it is good that Nudo is, this far out, giving the public only one Republican to focus on in the race against Democrat Frerichs in November.
We certainly wish Mr. Nudo all the best in his future endeavors