CHICAGO | Calumet City Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush and her slate of candidates gained some opposition Monday for the Feb. 26 Democratic primary.
The city’s Electoral Board has rejected challengers' ballots for the primary recently, but Monday, Cook County Judge Edmund Ponce de Leon ruled some of the candidates should remain on the ballot.
Ponce de Leon ruled in a lawsuit by a slate of candidates for city clerk, treasurer and seven aldermanic posts aligned with mayoral hopeful Brian Wilson.
Complaints filed by Qualkinbush supporters to remove those candidates claimed their nominating petitions were not properly notarized and their candidate and financial disclosure statements were improper.
Ponce de Leon said of the petitions that they “substantially complied” with the requirements of state election law.
“These issues are not sufficient to invalidate these petitions,” he said.
The judge was not critical of the Electoral Board’s conduct in this case, other than to say they “improperly applied” the issues of election law.
Restored to the ballot were clerk candidate Rita Cortez, treasurer candidate Anthony Smith, and aldermanic candidates Lawrence Caballero, Patricia Twymon, Wilbur “Will” Tillman, RaMonde Williams, DeJaun Gardner, Tyhani Hill and Reginald Whitley.
Of those candidates, only Tillman was at the Daley Center courthouse when Ponce de Leon issued his ruling.
“We’re all very pleased,” Tillman said.
The ruling did not please city officials and those representing Qualkinbush.
Attorney James Nally said he plans to file an appeal later this week with the Illinois appellate courts, and hopes they will rule in his favor some time next week.
During the hearing, City Attorney Burt Odelson said officials may ask the appellate court to reschedule the primary election to be held in three weeks.
But Nally said he has argued similar issues in other election cases previously, and is confident a ruling can be achieved prior to election day.
John Jawor, attorney for Wilson and his slate of candidates, was upset about the possibility.
He called it, “an absolute waste of city tax dollars” for there to be an appeal on these cases. “I really thought they’d accept this, although I expect them to appeal Brian Wilson all the way to the (state) Supreme Court,” Jawor said.
Wilson is on the April 9 ballot, but the Electoral Board has heard arguments about why he should be removed, and they may take that action when they meet again Friday.
Later that day, Cook County Associate Judge Alfred Paul is scheduled to hear arguments concerning another mayoral candidate, Victor Green, removed by the Electoral Board from the ballot for reasons similar to those used to remove the Wilson slate.