Champaign County Republicans are mastering the art of the pre-emptive surrender.
With the March primary more than a month away and the general election not until November, two prominent members of the GOP have decided to walk away from their campaigns for public office.
First it was state Senate candidate Al Nudo, who recently withdrew from the primary race from the 52nd District because he was disgusted with negative campaigning waged by his political opponents.
Nudo's withdrawal was followed this week by a surprise decision from former state Sen. Richard Winkel, who announced that he's getting back out of politics after announcing late last year that he was getting back in politics.
Both Nudo and Winkel insist they've washed their hands of political life, although Winkel said his withdrawal was prompted by an opportunity at the University of Illinois to build a center for public leadership.
Here's hoping those would-be leaders will be taught the importance of carefully making decisions and sticking to them.
It would be wrong to begrudge the men their choices. After all, they have to live with the consequences.
But this kind of back-and-forth really is not helpful. The presence of strong candidates like Nudo and Winkel may have kept other qualified candidates from running, and the voters' choices would have been broader and, therefore, better.