MILLCREEK — Months before the general election, Millcreek may already have its first mayor.
Jeff Silvestrini will be the only name on the November ballot because his would-be opponent, Fred Healey, announced Monday he will withdraw from the race.
Healey, who had been diagnosed with cancer and warned his supporters days before the primary election that he may not be physically able to continue his campaign, still placed second behind Silvestrini to earn a spot on the November ballot.
But Monday, Healey sent a letter to his supporters saying he's withdrawing "with a heavy heart."
"In conference with my doctors and family, I have been advised to step down for my own health and the good of my family," Healey said in the letter. "After being hospitalized three times in nine weeks, I recognize that I must follow that advice."
Silvestrini said he's saddened by the circumstances around Healey's withdrawal.
"I was looking forward to a healthy debate and a good race with him," he said. "I really wish the best for Fred and his family."
Silvestrini said he regrets not having a competitor for the fall election, but he'll still do his best "to show the people of Millcreek that I'm the best candidate for mayor."
In his letter, Healey encouraged his supporters to vote for Silvestrini in the coming election, saying Silvestrini "encouraged me all along the way to hang in there and has sought my input and ideas."
The third-place finisher in Millcreek's primary, former state Sen. Scott Howell, also extended condolences to Healey and his family Monday.
"His health is vastly more important than any political campaign," Howell said. "He did what is right for him, for his family, and for the people of Millcreek. I have nothing but respect for Fred."
Healey thanked his family and supporters, and pledged to work with the new mayor and City Council.
"When I am stronger and healthier, I will look to share ideas with the council and our elected mayor," Healey said. "I love Millcreek city and want to be a part of it."
Nine candidates competed in the June primaries to compete in the general election. State law does not allow a third-place candidate to advance to the November ballot if a primary winner bows out.