Traverse City Record-Eagle

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July 17, 2008

Cicchelli drops re-election bid

BEULAH -- The Benzie County prosecutor's decision to pull the plug on his re-election bid came as a surprise to some officials, while others are looking forward to his departure.

Anthony Cicchelli this week sent letters to his August primary challenger and others that said he won't serve another term as prosecutor, months after the official deadline to remove his name from the ballot.

"After lengthy consideration I have decided that, even if elected, I will not serve as county prosecutor next term," Cicchelli wrote in a statement dated July 15.

Benzie County Republican Party Treasurer Jan Mick called the move a "wise decision."

"People weren't satisfied with him and (challenger John B. Daugherty) is a much better choice," she said.

Party officials hadn't received notice of Cicchelli's decision by Thursday and didn't try to influence him, said Chairman Rex O'Connor.

"I did not know that this was coming," he said.

County Commissioner Don Smeltzer believes Cicchelli is "just acknowledging reality by dropping out."

"I think the public in many ways has a lack of respect for county functions and relations and I think this will improve the appearance of county operations," Smeltzer said. "There have been occasions where he has declined to prosecute cases that should have been prosecuted. There are appearances that he was not working hard enough at the office."

Cicchelli did not return calls for comment Thursday.

The official deadline to withdraw from the August primary was May 16 at 4 p.m. Cicchelli will appear on the ballot beside Daugherty, a Beulah attorney and fellow Republican, said county Clerk Dawn Olney.

Daugherty said he received Cicchelli's statement by mail Wednesday.

"I guess I'm not really surprised, considering the situation ... as far as his history," Daugherty said. "I think it is just going to allow us to refocus to the November election."

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