Posted at: 04/02/2013 11:16 AM
Updated at: 04/02/2013 7:42 PM
By: Katie Eldred
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- (ABC 6 NEWS) -- The race for the Rochester City Council President appears to be over.
In an exclusive announcement to ABC 6 News, city councilman Michael Wojcik says it is the right time to end his campaign, effectively sealing a victory for Randy Staver.
"Continuing the campaign only serves to create divisiveness and reduce the availability of Randy Staver and I to work on behalf of Rochester for over a month,” says Wojcik.
In last month's special election, no candidate received the 50% needed for an outright victory, pushing Staver and Wojcik to a run-off election. But with 48% for Staver and 31% for Wojcik, the margin would be a difficult one to overcome for Wojcik, and he ultimately decided ending his campaign is the right move.
Wojcik went on to add, "I will continue to serve Rochester for another 4 years as a Councilman, and will work on every issue that I raised in this campaign to the best of my ability.”
Both men will remain on the council for the next four years, however another election will be needed to fill Staver's seat on the council.
The race was to fill the city council president's position that was vacated after the sudden death of former City Council President, Denny Hanson.
According to both city and state law, the May 7th special election must still take place. Wojcik says he will no longer campaign and that he'll vote for his opponent Randy Staver.
"There is nothing in state or city charter that allows somebody to step down and we not hold an election," said city clerk Judy Scherr.
Scherr says even with Wojcik backing down there is still a long process ahead, because once Staver assumes the role of City Council President, Rochester will still be one city council member short.
"We will have to have a vote in July, and then we could go to a general election if nobody receives 50 percent of the vote," said Scherr.
But Wojcik is hopeful his dropping out of the race will make it easier and help them focus on the more important issues.
"This was the decision we had to make at this time," said Wojcik.
He says it was hard to tell his supporters of his decision and that he wouldn't have been able to do it if it weren’t for the respect he has for his opponent.
"He’s got a big job to do, but we need someone like Randy Staver and as I said before I’m going to be his number one supporter and that's already going on today," said Wojcik.
Staver said in a statement that he is impressed with Wojcik decision and that it is for the better of the city of Rochester.