Will Urlacher make the primary ballot?

Republican Casey Urlacher sounded confident this week that he would overcome an effort to keep him off the March primary ballot in his effort to move up from Mettawa mayor to the Illinois Senate.

The brother of former Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher faces two objections to the petition signatures he filed to run to succeed state Sen. Dan Duffy of Lake Barrington.

One of the complaints: Many of the "signatures" aren't signatures at all. They're printed names.

It'll be up to the Illinois State Board of Elections in the coming days and weeks to decide whether that matters.

Urlacher is running against Barrington Hills Mayor Martin McLaughlin and Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods for the post.

Urlacher says he's being targeted because "the name recognition bothers them." He says he got more than double the 1,000 signatures he needed to get on the ballot.

"They've got a lot of work to do," Urlacher says. "I'm just playing the waiting game."

The rub

One of the objectors to Urlacher is Barrington Hills attorney David Stieper. He says the printed names aren't the only problems.

In addition, he says, some of the signatures come from voters who don't live in the Lake and McHenry county district Urlacher is trying to represent, like Elgin, Rockford and Downers Grove. In such cases, they wouldn't count.

"This is more than just a technical objection," Stieper said.

Stieper says he hasn't formally backed a candidate in the race but passed petitions for McLaughlin.

Not the only one

A state elections official says cases like this one likely won't be ready to be decided by the time of a meeting set for Monday and likely will reach finality in early January.

That means state Rep. Anna Moeller, an Elgin Democrat whose candidacy has been challenged, may not know if her re-election bid is safe until then. An attorney for Moeller wasn't immediately available to comment.

Several local candidates for Congress, though no incumbents, face challenges, too. Republicans Susanne Atanus and David Williams III face objections in the 9th Congressional District in their bids to take on Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston.

If they're dropped from the ballot, Republican Joan Lasonde of Wilmette won't face a primary. A similar situation is brewing in the 8th District.

Fallen soldier honored

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, a Plano Republican, honored Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Weiss of McHenry on the House floor this week.

The Christian Liberty Academy alumnus died in a helicopter training exercise in Kentucky earlier this month. Weiss went by the nickname "Mose," the same nickname as his grandfather, a World War II veteran.

"They remember him as brave from a young age, a shoulder to lean on in difficult times, and a caring and loving brother, husband and father," Hultgren said. "The family Christmas celebration will be muted this year, but we are forever grateful for Mose's service and sacrifice."

Weiss was 32.

Not yet

When former College of DuPage Board Chairman Kathy Hamilton stepped down this week, we asked the state when its audit of the college would be completed.

Hamilton's board agreed to pay for the state audit in the wake of the severance package given to former President Robert Breuder.

A spokesman said the Auditor General's Office "does not comment on ongoing audits or estimate their release dates."

So wait we will.

Local ties

The highest-profile primary opponent for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says he spent time growing up in Carpentersville and graduated from Barrington High School in 1995.

Jason Gonzales says he graduated high school late after spending some time at an alternative school in Libertyville, but he credits his local teachers with helping him get things turned around. He earned a master's degree from the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government earlier this year.

Cruz cruising here?

An Illinois co-chairman for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz says the campaign in the state is going strong.

Chicago GOP leader Chris Cleveland says the campaign might announce its statewide supporters soon. While the Cruz campaign here has been lower-profile than some of the others, Cleveland said they're putting together a good primary operation behind the scenes.

"We've got one of the best ground games, if not the best ground game, in the state," he said.

Rubio wins Lake poll

Cruz placed second in a straw poll by the Lake County Republican Federation held during a viewing of the week's Republican debate.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio placed first with 31 percent. Cruz came in with 22 percent. And Donald Trump took 18 percent.

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