CALUMET CITY | Brian Wilson is officially off today's mayoral ballot.
The Illinois Supreme Court on Monday denied a request to consider a case that could have restored the 4th Ward alderman's name to the ballot for today's municipal election. Wilson had hoped to challenge incumbent Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush.
Wilson’s attorneys on Friday requested the state's high court issue at least a temporary order that would have forced his name to appear on ballots as a valid choice against Qualkinbush, who now will be unopposed in today’s election.
But the court issued a one-sentence order Monday afternoon denying that request. Court spokesman Joe Tybor said the seven justices offered no explanation for their denial.
Wilson attorney John Jawor said Monday’s lack of action meant the end of Wilson’s challenge of Qualkinbush for mayor. He criticized the court’s lack of at least a hearing on the matter as “the court taking the easy way out of this.”
Wilson’s name was on the ballots that were used at early voting centers in Cook County, but those votes will now not be counted and anyone who votes for Wilson today will be spoiling their ballot.
Attorneys for Qualkinbush supporters who had challenged Wilson’s campaign before the city’s Electoral Board were not available Monday to comment. That Electoral Board removed Wilson from the ballot, a decision that was upheld by Cook County Judge Maureen Ward Kirby and an Illinois appellate court panel.
Kirby had ruled last month that new state laws prevent someone from dropping out of a primary election and running as a political independent in the general election of the same election cycle. Jawor argued unsuccessfully that the new law only applied to even-numbered-year elections for federal, state and county offices, and not the odd-numbered year elections for municipal posts.
In the wake of the high court decision, Wilson was upset. He said he believes Qualkinbush challenged his candidacy so hard because she is a white woman running in a municipality with a 72 percent African-American population.
“She was a white woman with her back to the wall running in an African-American community,” Wilson said. “So she brought in her attorneys to kick me off. I think it’s a travesty.”
A call to Qualkinbush was not immediately returned Monday afternoon.
Wilson, who has been alderman of the 4th Ward on Calumet City’s West Side since 2005, said he does not believe the failure of his mayoral campaign is the end of his time in public service. He will relinquish his aldermanic post in May when a new alderman is sworn in after Tuesday's election.
“I can’t say right now what office I would run for, but I’ll be back at some point,” he said. “The people of Calumet City are going to have a choice (for mayor) someday.”