A St. Charles City Council race robust with candidates for aldermen may soon see a thinner field as the first stage for several of the campaigns will begin with a legal hearing.
A hearing officer will determine the validity of the nominating petitions belonging to four of the 12 candidates slated to be on the April ballot. In all four cases, a candidate seeking the same ward seat is challenging the petitions of a rival.
Former St. Charles Alderman Art Lemke is challenging the petitions of Rita Ann Payleitner. If Lemke is successful in his challenge he will automatically become an alderman in Ward 2 once again, without any input from voters. Lemke would be the only candidate left in that race if Payleitner is removed from the ballot. The same is true in Ward 4 where incumbent Jim Martin filed an objection to Steven Gaugel's petitions. If Gaugel is removed from the race, Martin automatically wins another term.
The other two challenges would only thin out the list of candidates in Wards 3 and 5. Vanessa Bell-LaSota is challenging the petitions of Michael Henriksen in Ward 3. If Henriksen is removed from the ballot, Bell-LaSota must still face Raymond Rogina in the April election. In Ward 5, incumbent Alderman Ed Bessner is already assured re-election to one of the open seats. For the other seat, Kim Malay is challenging the petitions of Maureen Lewis. Lewis was recently appointed to the seat by Mayor Don DeWitte after the resignation of David Richards. If Lewis is removed from the ballot, Malay must still face Jotham Stein in April.
The initial hearings on all of the challenges will come at 5 p.m. Monday in the city council chambers. The city council will have its regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m., following the hearings.