Theresa Garza Ruiz, who has been facing a residency challenge, has withdrawn as a candidate for Kansas City’s 5th District at large City Council seat.
Garza Ruiz’s attorney, Patrick McInerney, sent a letter Thursday to the city clerk’s office asking that her name be removed from the April 7 primary election ballot.
In a statement emailed from her campaign, Garza Ruiz said: “It has been my great honor to serve the people of this region as a public servant who loves her community. Due to personal circumstances that demand my attention, I am withdrawing as a candidate for City Council.”
She said she hopes to explore future options to serve the public “after I have resolved the personal issues that require my full focus at this time.”
Garza Ruiz had received the endorsement of several political groups, but one of her opponents, Lee Barnes, had filed a lawsuit questioning whether Garza Ruiz had been a Kansas City resident for two years before the election, as required by the city charter.
Garza Ruiz served on the Jackson County Legislature until recently, representing an area that includes Blue Springs. When she filed to run for the Kansas City Council, she presented lease documents with a Kansas City address that were signed March 29, 2013 — nine days before the two-year deadline — but the lease’s start date wasn’t clear. Jackson County election board records show she voted in Blue Springs on April 2, 2013.
A hearing on the residency lawsuit had been scheduled for Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court.
The remaining candidates in the race are Barnes and Dennis Anthony.