Democratic state Sen. Michael Bond on Friday dropped out of the race for the North suburban 10th Congressional District seat and announced he'll instead seek re-election to his Senate seat.
Bond, of Grayslake, was among the first candidates in the race for the congressional seat now held by Republican Mark Kirk, who's running for U.S. Senate.
Bond declared his intent to run for higher office in April. He put together a campaign staff, launched a Web site and started raising cash for what could be one of the nation's most closely watched battles in 2010.
But on Friday - less than a week after popular state Rep. Julie Hamos of Evanston declared her candidacy for Kirk's post - Bond backpedaled.
"After careful consideration, I have decided not to seek the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 10th District, and will instead seek re-election to the Illinois Senate," Bond said in a news release. "While I am grateful for the encouragement I have received to run for Congress, I feel an obligation to continue working to address the enormous challenges our state is confronting."
Bond's withdrawal leaves Hamos, repeat candidate Dan Seals of Wilmette and political newcomer Elliot Richardson of Highland Park as the other Democrats in the congressional race.
Mount Prospect resident Patricia Bird is the only declared Republican candidate.
The 10th District includes much of the North Shore and some Northwest suburbs.
Bond, who was elected to the state Senate in 2006 after a tough battle with Republican Suzanne Simpson, has seen his star rise in state politics. He is vice chairman of the Senate's transportation committee and first vice-chair of the Lake County Democratic organization.
His decision to seek re-election forced Grayslake Democrat Laura Tomsky out of the 31st District race Friday. She said she intended to run for an open seat and not against Bond, who she called a friend.
"I'm not going to run against Michael," she said.
Lake County Board Chairwoman Suzi Schmidt is the lone GOP candidate for the Senate post.
A veteran politician who became the first woman to lead the county panel in 2000, Schmidt announced her campaign for state Senate in May. She said she'd go after the post whether Bond was in the race or not.
Friday, she reiterated her intent to run and took a shot at Bond's decision to stay put.
"When you decide to run for a different office, and then you switch back because you have a strong opponent, I question where your heart is," said Schmidt, whose current board term expires in 2012. "You're just looking for a job."
Schmidt, who expected Bond to drop out of the congressional race, said she's looking forward to facing the freshman senator in the 31st District, which includes much of northern Lake County.
"I have a strong record in the county," Schmidt said. "I think I'll be a very strong opponent for him."
No other candidates have materialized.