CALUMET CITY | Mayoral hopeful Brian Wilson said he and his attorneys will make a trip Friday to Springfield to file an appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court that he hopes will restore his name to the ballot for Tuesday’s municipal elections.
Wilson’s campaign dreams were knocked off the ballot by the city’s Electoral Board. A Cook County Circuit Court judge and an Illinois Appellate Court panel have upheld the board's actions.
The Appellate Court panel ruled Wednesday against Wilson’s campaign.
Wilson said Thursday his attorneys are preparing the legal motions that would be required for an appeal to the high court.
He said those motions will be filed Friday and that he hopes the state Supreme Court gives some sort of response Monday, one day before Election Day.
Wilson attorney John Jawor said the move will require the Supreme Court to act quickly, if it even accepts the case.
City Attorney Burt Odelson, who advised the Electoral Board when it convened earlier this year, said he doubts the court would come to a different conclusion.
“The Electoral Board’s actions have already been approved by a circuit court and an appellate court,” he said.
By his own admission, Wilson said this is a long-shot legal move.
“We’re at the eighth hour,” he said.
However, Wilson said he thinks it is important to carry his desires to oppose Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush to the absolute end of the legal process.
“This is really more about principle at this point,” Wilson said. “This is about the fact that Michelle and her attorneys spent so much money to knock off every candidate who wanted to challenge her.”
Calumet City’s Electoral Board — which for Wilson’s case usually consisted of Aldermen Thaddeus Jones and Magdalena “Leni” Wosczynski and City Clerk Nyota Figgs — removed the Wilson campaign from the ballot because of unpaid debts owed to city government and nominating petitions with imprecise notarization.
Those claims ultimately were rejected by a Cook County judge, who nevertheless removed the Wilson campaign because state law prohibits a primary election candidate from running an independent campaign for the same political office in the same election cycle.
Wilson dropped out of the February Democratic primary for mayor to try a bid as a political independent against Qualkinbush, which Qualkinbush has described as a case of Wilson not following the rules.
She was unavailable Thursday to comment about Wilson’s decision to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Wilson’s attorneys have argued the laws preventing the flip only apply to elections held for federal, state and county government posts, and not to the elections for municipal offices held in odd-numbered years.
Wilson on Thursday adamantly made the same argument.
“The law they keep referring to does not apply to me,” he said.