In a stunning shakeup for the 2013 race for Aurora's 4th Ward Alderman, Kevin Mathews announced during Thursday night's candidate forum he would be ending his campaign and instead urged the voters of the 4th Ward to vote for Jay Leonardi.
Mathews said his decision was meant to "do the right thing for the community" to give the best opportunity for a quality candidate to emerge like Jay Leonardi and also to reduce the chance Mayor Tom Weisner's rubber stamp crony, Bill Donnell, from getting through.
Donnell, who acknowledges he's an "insider" and friends with the political mafia of Aurora, is the mayor's best shot of trying to return the 4th Ward back to the old-guard, status-quo ways.
Jay Leonardi represents a far different vision for the future and the mayor himself calls him "the next Rick Lawrence" due to his independence and focus on making taxpayers and families, not the cronies, the top priority.
For Mathews, the decision was in part because he thought the primary would narrow the race from 7 to 4 candidates, which he likely would have emerged.
However, due to gerrymandering and manipulation of the Aurora Election Commission by Weisner, that has now changed so the primary would result in the top 2.
That's because the mayor is gambling that if Bill Donnell somehow makes it to the primary against one other candidate, then Weisner and the political mafia would throw their full support to defeat anyone else.
A general election of 4 candidates would be harder for Weisner to manipulate.
For many voters, Mathews was among their 2 choices due to his consistent advocacy for taxpayers and his business and private sector experience.
"When it comes to substance and experience, Kevin Mathews had an advantage over all the candidates, but when it comes to substance and vision for the future, Jay Leonardi is an appealing choice" said a 4th Ward voter.
Another voter told us, "I credit Kevin Mathews for being willing to look beyond himself and realizing that if Jay Leonardi emerged past the primary, he would have the best shot of winning against any crony by the mayor."
Meanwhile, there are still other candidates, including Mike "Leo" Leonardi, Chuck Norris, Duane Kleckner and Mavis Bates.
Mike "Leo" Leonardi has said he would be independent and has been saying what most are not supposed to say in this city, which is that taxpayers need someone like Rick Lawrence and/or an additional voice to stop the various schemes and wasteful projects by Weisner and his rubber-stamps.
Chuck Norris and Duane Kleckner both continue to stay in the race, although are weak on what has been the traditional voter base of the 4th Ward and have more strength on the "new" section of the 4th Ward, which is on the east side of Aurora after the redistricting and gerrymandering of the ward maps by the mayor.
Most of our viewers say Mavis Bates isn't doing well, but she is the closest alternate to Bill Donnell for those that want an old-guard mentality candidate. Ironically, the better she does in the primary, the more chance there is to stop Bill Donnell from getting past the primary.
"My best case-scenario is the final two would include two independent candidates like Jay Leonardi and someone else, but my worst-case scenario is we end up with two old-guard candidates like Donnell and Bates" said a voter who attended both candidate forums.
According to several viewers, one of the most bizarre moments of the candidate forum on Thursday was during a question about the upcoming vote on the Restaurant Row scheme.
Bill Donnell, who supports the scheme, actually said that TIF money, such as the million that would be dumped into a pizza place scheme to personally benefit State Rep. Linda Chapa, are not actually taxdollars.
Weisner, who did not attend either candidate forum, instead sent his goons and old-guard poster boy, Bob O'Connor, who is running against Rick Lawrence for Alderman-at-Large.
Many questions at the forum were about the problems created or made worse by Weisner during his regime where cronies have become rich while taxpayers have been exploited.