Lake County judge upholds decision to remove Rudd from November ballot

 
 
Updated 8/18/2016 6:25 PM
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  • Thomas Rudd

    Thomas Rudd

It's on to the appellate court for Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd in his quest to seek re-election.

Lake County Judge Diane Winter ruled Rudd, a first-time incumbent from Lake Forest, is ineligible to place his name on the November general election ballot as an independent because he already tried to seek office as a Democrat in the same election cycle.

In the seven-page ruling late Wednesday, Winter said Rudd "provided sworn declarations that he was a qualified primary voter of the Democratic Party." As a result, Winter stated in her written judgment, "Rudd is not an eligible Independent candidate in the 2016 general election" because "his affiliation with the Democratic Party was not withdrawn."

She said the sworn declarations to the Democratic Party remain intact despite the fact Rudd filed a withdrawal of candidacy before the primary election.

"I am disappointed in the ruling, but it was expected," Rudd said. "We are proceeding to take the case to appellate court."

After the ruling, Rudd's attorneys attempted to file an emergency motion Thursday to block the printing of the November election ballots to give the appellate court time to make a decision.

However, Winter denied that motion, saying she "trusts the appellate court will expedite their order" on the Rudd ballot issue.

Rudd's re-election campaign was thrown into limbo in July after the three-member Lake County Electoral Board removed his name from the November ballot. The board ruled Rudd could not run as an independent after filing to run as a Democrat in the same election cycle.

Rudd initially filed in December to run as a Democrat in the March primary election but dropped out of that race because 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, Rudd 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 to those petitions, claiming Rudd could not run as an independent in the same election cycle in which he filed as a Democrat.

The Lake County Electoral Board upheld the challenge, leading to Rudd's court appearance before Winter.

Rudd has contended the electoral board violated his rights under the U.S. and Illinois constitutions by removing his name from November's ballot and blocking him from running as an independent.

Attorneys for Donnenwirth and Turner argued the law is clear that Rudd cannot file to run as a Democrat and as an independent in the same election cycle.

Rudd's attorney said they would file the appeal Tuesday.

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