SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois State Board of Elections Tuesday ruled that state Rep. Kent Gaffney can remain on the Republican primary ballot in his bid for the Illinois House.
The board overruled a challenge from opponent David McSweeney of Barrington Hills, saying Gaffney had 660 petition signatures to make his candidacy official, more than the required 500.
Board Chairman William McGuffage said despite McSweeney's contention that petitions passed by one Gaffney supporter were not valid, Gaffney still had enough signatures and there was not enough time to verify their authenticity for the March 20 primary.
After the hearing, McSweeney said he'd appeal the decision in court, arguing that many of Gaffney's signatures were thrown out by state officials and more should be.
But Gaffney, of Lake Barrington, called on McSweeney to drop out of the race, arguing the challenge has been a waste of time.
"In his objection to my petitions, David McSweeney made a number of outrageous and baseless claims against my campaign," Gaffney said in a statement. "McSweeney's reckless, false charges have been dismissed by the State Board of Elections. He has failed in his desperate attempt to remove me from the ballot."
McSweeney shot back.
"My response is that Kent Gaffney should resign," McSweeney said.
Gaffney, McSweeney and Danielle Rowe of Island Lake are all vying for the GOP nomination for the Illinois House's 52nd District, which includes the Barrington area, Fox River Grove, Cary and Algonquin.
Gaffney was appointed to the position last year to replace longtime Republican Rep. Mark Beaubien, who died suddenly of a heart attack. Gaffney had served on the budget staff in the Illinois House and as an aide to Beaubien.
McSweeney, a financial consultant, won the GOP nomination for the 8th Congressional District seat in 2006, but lost to Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean in the general election.
•Daily Herald State Government Writer Mike Riopell contributed to this report.