Jones gains Williams, other challenger

2013-12-02T20:00:00Z 2013-12-02T23:31:09Z Jones gains Williams, other challengerGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent
December 02, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, will face two challengers – including a man removed from a school board post because of a criminal record – for his Illinois legislative post in a March primary.

Jones, a Democrat Calumet City alderman who also has served in the Illinois House since January 2011, got two challengers Monday for the March 18 primary.

Rene Chandler, of Calumet City, and Kenneth Williams, of South Holland, filed nominating petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Williams is the former School Board president for Thornton Township High School District 205 who was removed earlier this year by a Cook County judge because of a 28-year-old criminal conviction for aiding a forgery in Indiana. That conviction does not disqualify him from being able to serve in the Legislature.

Williams declined to discuss his campaign in detail Monday. This would be the second time Williams ran for an Illinois House seat. He challenged Jones unsuccessfully in 2010, running on the Green Party ticket that year.

Jones is not the only area state legislator facing challenges in the 2014 election cycle.

Elgie Sims Jr., and Marcus Evans Jr., both D-Chicago, along with Will Burns, D-Homewood, also gained challengers Monday.

Sims, who is serving in his first term in the Illinois House, is being challenged by Richard Wooten, a former Chicago Police officer. There also are two people who filed petitions to run in the Republican primary – with the winner taking on the Democratic nominee in the November 2014 general election.

Mark Ekhoff, of Grant Park, and Fatimah Macklin, of Chicago, want to represent the district that stretches from 73rd Street in Chicago south to Kankakee County.

Ekhoff is CEO of Trim Creek Energy, a Grant Park-based company that develops alternative energy sources. He also is president of the Kankakee County chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Macklin is a former biology professor for the City Colleges of Chicago, who has written books of poetry and children’s stories.

Burns will be challenged in the Democratic primary by Riverdale village President Deyon Dean. Evans will be unopposed in the March primary. But Lynn Renee Franco, of Chicago, filed petitions to run against him as a Republican in the November general election.

Area state Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, will be unopposed in next year’s elections.

For the Illinois Senate, Napoleon Harris, D-Harvey, filed his nominating petitions Monday, as did Victor Jonathan of Country Club Hills.

Jonathan has never held elective office but campaigned for several government posts – some under the name “Victor Onafuye” – until he changed his name in 2010.

In other offices up for election next year, Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., is being challenged for her congressional post by Marcus Lewis, of Matteson, and Charles Rayburn, of Dolton. Eric Wallace, of Flossmoor, wants to run for the post as a Republican.

Lewis was one of the candidates who ran independent campaigns against Kelly in the 2013 special election to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. He received 1.6 percent of the vote. Rayburn and Wallace were among the nearly two dozen people who ran for the post along with Kelly in the special primary election held earlier this year.

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