Hearing on Lake County Coroner's candidacy continued

  • Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd.

    Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd.

  • Michael Donnenwirth, a Democratic candidate for Lake County coroner

    Michael Donnenwirth, a Democratic candidate for Lake County coroner

Updated 7/11/2016 2:39 PM

A Lake County election board hearing to determine if Coroner Thomas Rudd should remain on the November ballot was continued Monday after the incumbent filed a lengthy motion to dismiss a challenge to his nomination petitions.

In the document, Rudd claims the complaint that he cannot be listed on the November general election ballot as an independent is inaccurate because he dropped off the Democratic primary ballot in December 2015 after Republicans challenged his paperwork.


"Hence, the act of withdrawing one's candidacy necessarily voids and nullifies the filed nominating petitions and supersedes any statement of affiliation made therein," according to the motion.

The challenge also noted that pages of some of the petitions were not consecutively numbered, as required by the election code. However, in the dismissal documents, Rudd's attorneys cited case law to show a misnumbered petition is valid in Illinois.

The challenge to Rudd's independent petitions was filed by Michael P. Donnenwirth and Keith E. Turner of Waukegan. Donnenwirth and Rudd were to have been opponents in the March 15 Democratic primary, but Rudd withdrew from the race. Donnenwirth won the Democratic primary with 74,799 votes. Howard Cooper, the unopposed Republican candidate, received 66,319 votes.

Rudd, a first-term incumbent from Lake Forest, filed paperwork in late June to run for a second term as an independent. The objection filed with Lake County Clerk Carla Wyckoff, chairman of the three-member electoral board, states Rudd's independent candidacy should be declared invalid and his name should not appear on the official ballot.

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According to the objection, a person who filed a statement of candidacy for office as a member of an established political party is not allowed to file as an independent for a general election immediately after a general primary. Rudd withdrew his name as Democratic precinct committeeman and coroner but did not withdraw "sworn and certified declarations and statements" that he was affiliated with the Democratic Party for the 2016 election cycle, according to the objection.

The court documents Rudd filed Monday state he has successfully withdrawn any affiliation with the Democratic Party for the current election cycle.

The hearing was continued to noon Wednesday in the 10th-floor Assembly Room of the county building, 18 N. County St., Waukegan.

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