CHICAGO | A Cook County judge will hear arguments later this month in Calumet City mayoral hopeful Brian Wilson's bid to be restored to the ballot for the April 9 municipal elections.
The south suburb's electoral board removed Wilson from the ballot on assorted grounds, including debts he allegedly owes to the city and insufficient signatures of support on his nominating petitions, but the soon-to-be former alderman of the 4th Ward filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court seeking to be restored.
During Tuesday's hearing at the Daley Center courthouse, the case had been assigned to county division Chief Judge Edmund Ponce de Leon, the same judge who last month restored a slate of candidates aligned with Wilson for other municipal offices to the Feb. 26 Democratic primary ballot.
With the exception of 4th Ward aldermanic candidate RaMonde Williams, everyone on that slate wound up losing the primary election to candidates who were aligned with Calumet City Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush.
Ponce de Leon's involvement caused attorneys representing the electoral board, led by City Attorney Burt Odelson, to object. The judge wound up recusing himself from the case.
That caused it to be reassigned to Judge Maureen Ward Kirby, who will hear oral arguments on March 21, according to attorneys John Jawor and James Nally.
Jawor said Kirby indicated on Tuesday that she may issue her ruling on Wilson's case the same day as the oral arguments.
During the next two weeks, attorneys for Wilson and the supporters of Qualkinbush who are challenging Wilson will be on a schedule to exchange written legal briefs that detail the arguments they plan to make on March 21.
Jawor, who represents Wilson, said he is not concerned about the change in judges, saying he believes Kirby will be fair and will still wind up ruling in his favor.
If a ruling is made at that time, it will come in time for Wilson's name to be printed on the ballot for the April 9 elections.
Early voting for that election cycle will be held March 25 to April 6, with early voting centers to be held at the Calumet City Public Library, 660 Manistee Ave., the Chicago Heights City Hall, 1601 Chicago Road, and the Faith Family Future Center, 16931 South Park Ave., in South Holland.