Soon after Republican Mike Webster announced his bid for Illinois secretary of state this week, the party sent out an email plea to its faithful: Please help the Naperville attorney get on the March 18 ballot.
"Here's the problem: We have an extremely narrow window of time left to collect a minimum of 5,000 signatures to get him on the ballot and continue our work to restore a true two-party system to Illinois," the email read.
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It's a tall order but certainly not impossible. Most candidates prefer to get twice the minimum number of petition signatures because, ultimately, a bunch of them will be invalidated.
"Please take some time in the next few days to ask your friends, family, neighbors, and community to help Mike Webster get on the ballot," the email said. "Time is short and we need every Republican to pitch in."
Democratic Secretary of State Jesse White is considered to be popular and a tough upset for Republicans, but the party would rather have a candidate in the high-profile race than not.
Sharpen the pencils
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has got to hurry, too. He started collecting petition signatures after naming his running mate, Paul Vallas, earlier this month, relatively late compared to his Republican opponents. On Sunday, New Trier Democrats scheduled a "petition signing blitz" to help Quinn, for example.
Filing starts Monday and continues through the following Monday, Dec. 2. After that, rival candidates will be challenging the validity of signatures to try to knock their opponents off the ballot.
The Thanksgiving holiday in the middle of next week further hampers any candidates trying to amass last-minute signatures.
We hear there will be a lot of people waiting in the cold Thursday night outside of various retail hubs, so having a thermos of hot chocolate on hand might go a long way for signature hunters.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston was among a few U.S. House Democrats who fasted Thursday to show support for advocates of changes to immigration laws who have been fasting for 10 days already.
"I am inspired by how these fasters are willing to put their health on the line to raise attention to the critical issue of immigration reform," Schakowsky said in a statement. "I choose to stand in solidarity with them today."
Earlier this year, during the federal government shutdown, Schakowsky was arrested during an immigration protest.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has said an immigration proposal approved by the Senate and favored by many Democrats won't come to a vote in his chamber.
State Sen. Julie Morrison, a Deerfield Democrat, is having a hearing Dec. 10 to further talk about Gizzell Ford, a Chicago 8-year-old who was found dead in her home this year.
The Department of Children and Family Services inspector general's office is set to testify. Morrison said the hearing isn't a "witch hunt" but a chance to examine ways to improve the department.
"This is to give us an opportunity to look at a real-life case," Morrison said.