Five 14th Congressional District candidates - including U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood - facing petition challenges

Five of the seven candidates running for Illinois' 14th Congressional District seat - including Democratic incumbent Lauren Underwood of Naperville - are facing petition objections that could cost them spots on the June 28 primary ballot.

In addition to Underwood's, the petitions of Republicans Scott Gryder of Oswego, Mike Koolidge of Rochelle, Jack Lombardi of Manhattan and Susan Starrett of North Aurora have been challenged.

The nominating petitions of 14th District GOP hopefuls Jaime Milton of Fox River Grove and James Marter of Oswego were not challenged by Monday's deadline.

The cases will be heard by electoral boards selected by the Illinois State Board of Elections.

If a petition objection is upheld, a candidate can be disqualified from running for a political party nomination.

Underwood's petition was targeted by Tonia LaRue of Yorkville.

LaRue claims Underwood's statement of candidacy inaccurately described the office being sought, according to an elections board spokesman.

However, a copy of Underwood's candidacy statement acquired by the Daily Herald indicates she's seeking the Democratic nomination in the 14th Congressional District.

An Underwood campaign spokesman declined to comment.

LaRue also objected to Koolidge's paperwork, saying changes made to his candidacy statement weren't initialed by Koolidge or a notary. A Daily Herald review of the document revealed someone hand-wrote the word "Congressional" next to a typed "14th" in a box where the district being sought is supposed to be listed.

A different Yorkville resident, David A. Guss, objected to Gryder's, Lombardi's and Starrett's petitions.

Guss claims Gryder's petition pages aren't properly numbered in sequence.

A Daily Herald review revealed two petition pages for a Republican Illinois Supreme Court candidate were included in Gryder's packet and numbered as if they were pages for Gryder.

Guss alleges Lombardi's statement of candidacy inaccurately describes the office being sought, and that petition pages were numbered out of sequence.

A review of Lombardi's paperwork revealed he identified the district he's seeking to represent as the 14th - but it didn't include the word "congressional," as other candidates' filings did.

Additionally, a signature page for a Republican state Senate candidate was erroneously mixed in with Lombardi's petition pages.

Guss alleges Starrett's candidacy statement wasn't notarized. A separate objection from Plainfield resident Emily Cahill makes the same point.

Starrett's document doesn't appear to have a notary's signature or seal.

The newly redrawn 14th District encompasses parts of Kane, Will, DeKalb, Kendall, LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties. That covers some West and Southwest suburbs and a big chunk of north-central Illinois.

The state elections board will meet publicly at 10:30 a.m. March 29 in Chicago and Springfield to assign these and other petition objections to hearing officers.

Participation in the meeting also is possible using Zoom.

For more information on the meeting and hearing process, visit

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Scott Gryder
Mike Koolidge
Jack Lombardi
Susan Starrett
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