Mayor’s Race: Lesser-Known Candidates Face Steep Climb

Major players in the race for Chicago mayor have emerged. But what about some of the lesser-known names among the 21 who have filed to run? Do they stand a chance to make the ballot?

Among those running are familiar names like Susana Mendoza, Toni Preckwinkle, Bill Daley, Gery Chico, Willie Wilson and Paul Vallas. Others are lesser-known, such as Catherine Brown D’Tycoon, Conrien Hykes-Clark, Richard Mayers and Roger Washington. While they’ve all filed to run for mayor, some of the lesser-known candidates may not have met the minimum requirements to do so.

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For instance, Hykes-Clark turned in about 50 signatures with her petitions – the minimum required is 12,500. D’Tycoon, we’re told, turned in multiple bound volumes of petitions, but the rules require one bound volume. And the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners says Mayers turned in just one signature on his petition – his own.

The obvious question is, Why does the election board accept these petitions? Spokesman Jim Allen says it operates out of an abundance of caution in case a candidate gets thrown off the ballot but moves to challenge the decision in court. Allen says the election board shouldn’t be a party to a lawsuit and the taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for ongoing litigation. So the board is passive, waiting for other campaigns to file their objections to certain candidates (most of these lesser-known candidates do have objections filed against them). If no other campaign files an objection, then the election board itself will take action to weed out the campaigns that have obviously not met the minimum requirements.

“We’re looking to see if the pages are number, whether it was notarized at the bottom of each page,” Allen said. “We’re just looking at the basics of the document, to see if there was a statement of candidacy, minimum number of signatures, to see if the pages are numbered and bound, that kind of thing.”

There are some other candidates who are being challenged by Preckwinkle and Wilson, including Lori Lightfoot, Mendoza, Dorothy Brown and Ja’Mal Green. In Green’s case, an election hearing officer has determined he is below the 12,500 valid signatures to run for office. Green can appeal that ruling to the three-member board of election commissioners.

Preckwinkle on Tuesday did an about-face on campaign contributions from Ald. Ed Burke. On Monday, in response to calls for her to return contributions from Burke, Preckwinkle stated that she was considering what her response would be.

In a statement Tuesday, she said:

“I have been profoundly troubled by the news that the offices of 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke had been raided twice by the FBI and his alleged interference in the Department of Aviation. Over the thirty years, Alderman Burke has contributed a total of $12,800 to my Cook County board president and aldermanic accounts despite having little contact and no relationship with the Alderman. I have decided to donate the money to Latinos Progresando and Mijente, two organizations that work to empower the Latinx community.”

Follow Paris Schutz on Twitter: @paschutz

Related stories:

Major Candidates for Mayor Haven’t Released Their Tax Returns. Why Not?

Vallas Drops Petition Challenge; Lightfoot Calls on Preckwinkle to Do Same

Susana Mendoza on Her Battle to Become Chicago’s Next Mayor

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