CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Apostolic ministers, including the chief apostle for all of Cook County, plan to ask 12 of the 17 candidates now on the ballot for the 2nd Congressional District race to consider dropping out of the campaign.
Chief Apostle William Malloy will lead the group of clergy from Chicago's far South Side and surrounding suburbs in a news conference Friday at the Am I My Brother's Keeper Outreach Church, 283 E. 14th St.
Robert Storman, a spokesman for Thornton Township Democratic Committeeman Frank Zuccarelli, who is helping to organize the event, said the group is concerned voters will be confused with 17 people seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the Illinois 2nd Congressional District post in the Feb. 26 primary.
They'd like the fringe candidates that polls thus far are showing with less than 1 percent support to drop out — leaving a field consisting of former state Rep. Robin Kelly, of Matteson; former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, of Crete; state Sens. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, and Napoleon Harris, D-Flossmoor; and Chicago 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale.
Storman said the pastors are working with the suburban committeemen to try to pare down the candidate field.
"We want to come up with a strong candidate" for the April 9 general election, in which the Democratic primary winner will take on the winner of the Republican primary. On the GOP side, there are five candidates who draw their voter support from the rural Will and Kankakee County portions of the congressional district.
The field of candidates whom Democrats want to stay in the electoral race does not include former Congressman Mel Reynolds, of Dolton, who has criminal convictions on his record related to sexual activity with a teenage girl.
Storman said Zuccarelli, who originally tried to get Democrats to slate state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, as the preferred candidate, is remaining neutral now, although he said all of the major candidates have reached out to him to try to get his support, along with that of other committeemen.
Trotter is expected to join the ministers in making the plea for fringe candidates to drop out, Storman said.
The Illinois State Board of Elections is in the process of considering challenges to ballot positions for the 2nd Congressional special election. Yet even that would not pare down the ballot by much, as challenges were only filed against Beale and Washington. Those challenges are being considered, and hearings for oral arguments on the matter have yet to be scheduled.
Other candidates seeking the Democratic nomination include Clifford Eagleton, of Harvey; Victor Jonathan, of Country Club Hills; John Blyth, of Chicago; Gregory Haynes, of Lynwood; Charles Rayburn, of Dolton; Ernest Fenton, of Markham; the Rev. Anthony Williams, of Dolton; and Fatimah Muhammad, Larry Pickens and Patrick Brutus, all of Chicago.