Challenge to Lake County coroner's candidacy upheld by electoral board
Lake County election officials have ruled incumbent Coroner Thomas Rudd's name should not appear on the November general election ballot as an independent candidate, Rudd confirmed Wednesday.
The unanimous ruling of the three-member Lake County Electoral Board was an affirmation of an objection raised by Rudd's would-be Democratic challenger, Michael P. Donnenwirth, and Keith E. Turner, the Waukegan residents who brought the action.
Rudd said he was not surprised by the decision and would go to court to challenge the interpretation of the panel, which is chaired by Lake County Clerk Carla Wyckoff.
"We hopefully will get a judicial interpretation," Rudd said.
The matter would need to be fast-tracked as ballot materials need be printed well-before the election, he added, and he hopes to have a clearer picture of the situation early next week.
Donnenwirth and Turner contended Rudd remained a declared Democrat despite his withdrawal from the race last December in advance of the March primary election. By law, he can't run as a candidate for another party or as independent in the same election cycle.
While the law is clear on changing party affiliation after a primary loss, "it doesn't say whether or not you can run after withdrawing," according to Rudd.
Donnenwirth and Rudd were to have been opponents in the March 15 Democratic primary. However, Rudd, a first-term incumbent from Lake Forest, withdrew in December after his paperwork was challenged by two Republicans.
Rudd then filed in late June to run as an independent.
The hearing before the electoral board began Monday but was continued to Wednesday. Rudd had filed an objection to the challenge but it was denied by the board, he said.