Gnutek quits Joliet council race
Bob okon firstname.lastname@example.org January 14, 2013 3:08PM
Updated: February 16, 2013 6:18AM
John Gnutek is pulling out of the Joliet City Council race amid a challenge to his election petitions.
His departure will reduce the campaign to a five-person race for the three at-large council positions. And it could go down to four candidates.
Dave Piekosz also is facing a petition challenge.
The Joliet electoral board meets Wednesday and could decide then whether to remove Piekosz from the ballot.
Gnutek said it became evident Friday when his petition signatures were being reviewed that he would not withstand the challenge.
“A lot of the voters had moved, and they hadn’t updated their voter registration records,” he said Monday. “Many of them had printed their names. They hadn’t signed it. For these reasons, the petitions were not sufficient.”
Candidates were required to get signatures of 157 registered voters to run for the council seats. Signers also needed to be registered to vote at the same address put on the petitions.
The challenge questioned the validity of signatures on both Gnutek’s and Piekosz’s petitions.
Gnutek attended the petition review session. But Piekosz was not there, said City Attorney Jeff Plyman. Piekosz also did not attend the initial electoral board hearing on the matter last week.
Plyman would not comment on what was shown by the review of Piekosz’s petitions. He said he would make his report to the electoral board.
If Piekosz is removed from the ballot, it would leave only one challenger, Troy Township Clerk Jim McFarland, facing three incumbents in the election.
Gnutek announced he would pull out Saturday in an open letter to voters in which he also encouraged people to vote for the incumbents: Don Fisher, Jan Quillman and Michael Turk.
The letter, however, is not the official form of withdrawing from a campaign.
Plyman said the hearing on Gnutek’s case would go forward Wednesday.
“I don’t know what his intentions are,” said Plyman, who had not talked with Gnutek since first seeing the letter Monday. “But his papers are all properly submitted, and the hearing will continue.”
Gnutek, however, does say in the letter that his campaign is ending. When interviewed, he said, “I basically have been defeated in the petition challenge, and I will not be running.”