Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Who Needs an Election When You Can Knock 'Em Off the Ballot?

Now that the dust has settled from the deadline to file nominating petitions for elected office here in Illinois, another deadline just passed yesterday - the deadline to file objections to those petitions. Everyone (Dems, Republicans and others) plays the objection game, and there's nothing wrong with calling an opponent on the correctness (and sometime genuineness) of the signatures and administrative portions of the election paperwork, which can be somewhat complex and arcane. However, you ought to have some kind of good-faith basis to challenge someone's filing, more so than just "prove to me these are correct."

Readers may recall that in the last election cycle, the Lake County Democrats filed challenges to the nomination of Keith Gray for State Senate (to run against Terry Link) and Dan Sugrue (who wanted to run against former State Rep. Kathy Ryg). Both of these nominations were by appointment, not by petition, but the point is that the main reason given for challenging both of these nominations by the Dems is that the meetings of the Republican nominating committees for each respective candidate both occurred on the same day (see more under the definition of "fishing expedition"). Yes, that's right, the Dems apparently couldn't conceive of a meeting occurring in Waukegan (in the 30th Senate District) to nominate Keith Gray, and then another meeting involving some of the same people occurring in Green Oaks to nominate Dan Sugrue. Well, I was at both meetings, and got to give testimony that, yes, I went to Waukegan for a meeting, then drove my car down the road to Green Oaks, and we did another meeting. What a farce and a waste of time.

So, in any case, I hope that those folks who have filed objections to nomination petitions this cycle, whatever team they are on, have some legitimate reasons for doing so.

A few challenges are of note: in the 59th Legislative District (which comprises all or parts of Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Riverwoods, Mettawa, Lincolnshire, and Green Oaks, and tiny bits of Waukegan, Lake Forest and Wheeling), GOP candidate and Vernon Hills trustee Cindy Hebda was challenged by Steven Rosenzweig, who is chairman of the Vernon Township Democrats. Fellow GOP contenders Dan Sugrue and Mohan Manian were not challenged, and neither were there any inter-party challenges.

Not so in the U.S. Senate race, and two challenges have a Lake County connection. My law school chum Pat Hughes, who is a conservative running for U.S. Senate against Congressman Mark Kirk, filed two challenges through Raymond True, who is the chairman of the Republican Assembly of Lake County (RALC), against two other Republican contenders, Bob Zadek of Rockford, and Tom Kuna, of Jerseyville. The crimes of Zadek and Kuna, as to why Hughes singled them out among the many GOP filers? Zadek and Kuna are both lower on the ballot than Hughes, who had coveted the "last" spot on the primary ballot, but flubbed his petition filing. So, what to do? Knock em off, of course.

Ray True and I have known each other a long time, so next time I see him, I will ask why he's trying to knock two "good Republicans," as he might put it, off the ballot to deny them a fair shot at the election. It's the kind of thing he'd probably complain about if it was done to one of "his" candidates. Oh, the Lake County connection is that True and Charlie Johnston, one of Hughes' primary campaign operatives and an RALC member, also go way back. Can't wait to see what the actual basis for the objections is.

Finally, it appears that State Senator Terry Link's nominating petitions for his run for Lt. Governor will be challenged by a fellow Lt. Guv candidate. h/t Capitol Fax Blog. I assume that whoever filed the objections will be checking the signatures against the death registry, and the phonebook. Link also made the news yesterday for going back on a campaign promise to deliver a half-million dollars in grant money to build a new library in Vernon Hills in the Cook Memorial Library District. So far, no dough, reports the Daily Herald.


Anonymous said...

Coulson is challenging Patricia Bird's petitions in the 10th GOP primary too.
I understand she will be filing an FEC advisory opinion request to determine if she can use Illinois state pension funds to pay the attorney to knock Bird off the ballot.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Couslon...I heard that their internal polling shows it's a Dold-Coulson race and that Green and Cadigan are even polling below Bird....

Kind of shocked me.

As for her trying to knock off Bird it makes sense...Coulson wants to be the only woman on the ballot.

Anonymous said...

If Dold had polling like that, you can be sure he would have made it public by now.
At least thats what I "heard"