Challenges filed against two candidates in Wheeling
Challenges have been filed against two men running for office in Wheeling by another candidate, and sorting out the complaints may get a little complicated, officials said.
Patrick Horcher — a former Wheeling trustee and village president who is again running for the town's top spot — on Monday filed challenges against the petitions of Trustees Ken Brady and Dean Argiris, said Deputy Village Clerk Lisa Leonteos.
Horcher's complaint said that Brady and Argiris had too many signatures on their petitions.
In the April 9 consolidated municipal election, Brady is running for another term as trustee and Argiris, who has been a trustee for more than 10 years, is running for village president against Horcher and current Mayor Judy Abruscato.
Petitions for elected office must have more than 80, but less than 130 signatures, Leonteos said. Brady's petition had 203, while Argiris turned in 186 signatures.
Horcher did not respond to calls for comment on Wednesday.
An electoral board will have to meet to discuss each challenge over the weekend. A date has not been set for the hearings, but village officials are still figuring out exactly who will be on the boards.
An election board made up of Abruscato, Village Clerk Elaine Simpson and Bob Heer, the longest-serving trustee, will hear the challenge on Horcher's complaint against Brady, but a different board will need to be formed for the complaint against Argiris, Leonteos said.
Because Abruscato is also a candidate for village president, she will have to excuse herself. The next most senior trustee would typically replace her, but in Wheeling that is Argiris, another candidate for village president and the candidate the challenge is being levied against. Because of the circumstances, the Cook County Clerk will need to assign someone else to sit on the election board with Heer and Simpson, Leonteos said. Typically the county appoints an attorney, but the village didn't know who that person would be on Wednesday afternoon.
Leonteos said she wasn't sure how much the complaints would cost the village in staff and legal expenses.
Both challenged candidates said they were angered by Horcher's move.
"I'm not worried about it, but I'm surprised," Argiris said. "This guy is playing games. I treat this position as a serious responsibility. There are serious issues in this community and I don't like the games."
Brady called the move "an embarrassment to the community"
"This is just stupid, it's just plain dumb," said Trustee Ken Brady. "I had a lot of people supporting me so what am I supposed to do — tear up the petitions and throw them away? I turned them in."
However, he said that if Horcher is elected village president and he is re-elected as a trustee, he wouldn't let this issue get between them.
"I don't let relationships interfere with business. I don't fool with vendettas," Brady said. "I don't see eye to eye with some of the trustees, but beyond that we're friends. It works better when everyone gets along."
A spokeswoman for the Cook County Clerk's office couldn't speak to this particular case, but said while it was common for people to be taken off the ballot for not having enough signatures, it was less likely to be taken off for having too many.
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