The on-again, off-again congressional campaign of Mount Prospect resident Patricia Bird is officially off.
Bird, a Republican who had been running for the 10th District seat now held by Rep. Mark Kirk, formally withdrew from the race Wednesday morning, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections Web site.
Bird confirmed she dropped out of the race in a brief e-mail sent to the Daily Herald on Friday afternoon. She did not explain her decision.
The 10th District includes much of the North Shore and some Northwest suburbs. Kirk, a Highland Park Republican, is leaving the post he's held since 2001 to run for U.S. Senate.
Bird, who unsuccessfully ran for Mount Prospect mayor earlier this year, was one of the first candidates to announce a bid for the House seat this summer. But she was also one of the most erratic, telling the Daily Herald three times in the ensuing months that she was dropping out and three more times that she'd changed her mind and was still running.
The most recent flip-flop occurred Nov. 18 when she sent a pair of contradictory e-mails to the Daily Herald within a 78-minute period.
Bird also refused to raise money for her campaign, even though the contest likely will cost candidates millions of dollars over the next year. She also was running her campaign without a manager or staff.
GOP leaders in Lake and Cook counties questioned Bird's campaign in interviews last week. Lake County GOP leader Dan Venturi called for her to quit the race, which is expected to be one of the most closely watched congressional contests in the nation.
Venturi is pleased she took his advice.
"I don't think she ever committed to the race, so I'm glad to see she's gone," Venturi said. "Everybody has a right to run... (but) it's not a game. It's not something you do halfheartedly."
Bird's decision to quit effectively ends a formal challenge of her candidate petition that had been filed with the election board by Highland Park resident Martin Zeidman.
It leaves six Republicans, four Democrats and one Green Party representative in the race.
The Republicans will face off in a Feb. 2 primary election. They are: Robert Dold of Kenilworth; state Rep. Elizabeth Coulson of Glenview; Dick Green of Winnetka; Paul Hamann of Lake Forest; William J. Cadigan of Winnetka; and Arie Friedman of Highland Park.
The Democratic candidates will have their own primary on Feb. 2. They are: Dan Seals of Wilmette; state Rep. Julie Hamos of Wilmette; Elliott Richardson of Highland Park; and Milton J. Sumption of Lake Bluff.
Chicagoan Richard Mayers is the lone Green Party candidate, but his candidate paperwork has been formally challenged and he could be kicked off the ballot. The fate of Mayers' candidacy has not been determined yet by the elections board.