It may not be the biggest surprise of this political season, but it's something: after collecting some petition signatures and exploring the possibilities, Rob Halpin is dropping out of the Chicago mayoral race.
Rahm Emanuel's tenant at 4228 North Hermitage, the man who declined to void his lease and move out when Emanuel was moving back, will not pursue a candidacy for mayor, despite reports in the Chicago Tribune that he had been approached by encouraging supporters last week.
"His wife went out of town and he announced, because it's better to ask forgiveness than ask permission," joked Bob Howington, Halpin's campaign manager and a veteran political hand. "But she came back and straightened him out."
In truth, Howington acknowledged in an interview with HuffPost Chicago, Halpin and his campaign team of friends and supporters simply got out of their depth. While many had offered their support if Halpin made the ballot, few were willing to fork over cash to help get him there, and the process began to look prohibitively expensive.
"The coup de grace was that the people we were going to engage in the signature drive, they kept amping up the cost of the service. At one point we were quoted low five figures; a couple of days later it was low six figures," Howington said. "And that was from an organization that prides itself on getting people on the ballot."
Howington did have an interesting take as to Halpin's motivation for getting in the race.
"People kept asking who put Halpin up to this. The fact is, it was the press. The press put him up to it, and the press backed him. There were no South Side businessmen. There was no Ed Burke," Howington said. "It's kind of like in the schoolyard: two people are shoving each other, and everyone's yelling, 'Fight, fight, fight.'"
Halpin's not one to back down from a fight, said his boyhood friend Howington, a chess instructor. But when it became clear how much money would need to be poured in for a candidacy that might not come to be, Halpin decided to step aside.
"It ended with a whimper, not a bang," Howington concluded.