Lake County coroner to seek re-election as write-in candidate

Barred from the ballot as an independent, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd said Friday he is running for re-election as a write-in candidate.

In the announcement, Rudd acknowledged court rulings against him and sought to differentiate himself from the pack.

"I will be running as the Democratic write-in candidate," he said.

Rudd dropped out of the March primary after his nomination papers were challenged. He said at the time he would not have enough signatures on the petitions should the objections be upheld.

In June, he filed nominating petitions to run as an independent in the November general election. However, Democratic coroner candidate Michael P. Donnenwirth and Waukegan resident Keith E. Turner filed objections.

The Lake County Electoral board ruled, and the circuit and appellate courts agreed, that Rudd's name could not appear on the ballot as an independent candidate because a person, by law, can't run as a candidate for a political party and as an independent in the same election cycle. The rulings essentially said Rudd maintained his Democratic status for an election year, even though he withdrew from primary.

"The point is the two judicial systems said, 'You are a Democrat'," according to Rudd. However, only a blank space that says "write-in" will appear on the ballot, and voters would have to print his name.

Rudd said he is considering sending a postcard to every mailing address in Lake County. One side would outline his credentials, and the other, in English and Spanish, would instruct voters how to write in a vote for Rudd.

"The difficult part of it is letting the people know they can do that," he said.

Donnenwirth said he didn't think Rudd should be able to run as a write-in.

"He falsified documents when he attempted to run in the primary. He did not follow the law," Donnenwirth said.

Republican coroner candidate Howard Cooper declined to comment.

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