Cunningham changes mind, files to get back on 11th District ballot
By Matt Hanley email@example.com February 9, 2012 5:54PM
Updated: March 11, 2012 8:49AM
When Jack Cunningham was tossed off the ballot a week ago for not having enough valid signatures, he seemed resigned to staying on the sidelines during in the 11th Congressional District Republican primary.
“I’m an elected official and if we did it wrong, we don’t belong on the ballot,” Cunningham, the Kane County clerk, said last week. “It’s over and it’s time to move on.”
Now Cunningham apparently has a few questions about whether his campaign did, in fact, get it wrong.
On Thursday, Cunningham filed for a judicial review of the State Board of Elections’ decision to remove him from the ballot.
“There’s some case law that I’ve seen that is quite different than what they’re (the Board of Elections) arguing,” said Cunningham.
After Cunningham saw the paperwork from the Board of Elections, he called it “imperative” to challenge the ruling. A hearing has been scheduled in Cook County for Feb. 16, just 11 days before early voting begins.
The petitions of all three Republican candidates had been challenged. Longtime U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert was the only candidate to withstand the challenges. Cunningham and former Joliet mayoral candidate Diane Harris were removed for having fewer than 600 valid signatures required for Democrats and Republicans. (Harris announced this week that she is planning to run as a write-in.)
Cunningham was disqualified in a 6-2 vote. He had filed 1,265 signatures on election petitions, but more than 700 were tossed. Many of those were attributed to one campaign worker, hired by Cunningham, who transposed two numbers on his own address.
Cunningham said in the past he and his supporters have gathered the signatures he needed. But preparing for the upcoming Kane County elections and the illness of his chief deputy clerk, Jay Bennett, who died in January, spurred Cunningham to hire a firm to gather signatures on his petitions. Last week, Cunningham admitted the process got away from him.
Cunningham believes he should not have been removed from the ballot for a simple typographical error.
The new 11th District covers most of Aurora, Naperville and Joliet.