If anyone knows how to get a candidate kicked off the ballot because of flawed nominating petitions, it should be Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham. He's sat on numerous electoral boards over the years that have dashed candidates' hopes for election including, most recently, rulings that booted a candidate from an upcoming Kane County Board race.
But now, he's not the judge, but could have a hand in possibly thwarting longtime U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert's Congressional career. Cunningham filed a challenge to more than 700 of Biggert's signatures believing many of them came from unregistered voters or legitimate voters who don't live within the 11th Congressional District. Cunningham and Biggert, along with Diane Harris of Joliet, hope to secure the Republican nomination for the district March 20.
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"It's the stakes we've made to get elected," Cunningham said of his challenge. "And if we do not meet them we shouldn't be on the ballot. The law is the law."
Biggert's camp isn't worried about the challenge. Her supporters believe Cunningham hasn't even challenged enough of Biggert's petition signatures to get her removed from the ballot even if he is successful in his objections. Biggert needs 600 valid signatures to maintain her chance at staying in Congress. Biggert has significantly more than 1,000 signatures.
"We believe that his objections are seriously flawed," Biggert Spokesman Brian Colgan said. "Our papers are absolutely fine."
The first stage of the hearing on Cunningham's objections began this week. There is also an objection against Cunningham's nominating petitions that must be vetted. And two separate challenges, including one also coming from Cunningham, were filed against Harris' petitions. All of which means it's possible there could be no Republican candidates for the 11th Congressional District if all challenges are successful.
The final day to certify the Congressional ballots is Jan. 17.