Former opponent says he didn't sign Link's petition

  • Charles Fitzgerald

    Charles Fitzgerald

 
 
Published11/17/2007 12:36 AM

A Lake County Republican who twice lost to state Sen. Terry Link is fuming because his name appears on Link's newest candidate petition.

Charles Fitzgerald, a North Chicago resident who serves as Shields Township's supervisor, says the signature is a forgery and he wants it removed from the petition.

 

He blamed Link for the gaffe.

"His name is on the top of the petition," said Fitzgerald, who was the GOP's nominee for the 30th Senate seat in 2002 and 2006. "It's his responsibility."

Link acknowledged the signature doesn't look like his former opponent's and believes someone signed the petition falsely as a joke.

"I've got to think that somebody was playing games," said Link, who's in his fourth term.

Fitzgerald's comments are the latest attack against Link's petition.

Jerry Johnson, Link's opponent in the Feb. 5 Democratic primary, is formally contesting the document, saying more than 2,500 of the signatures are invalid.

At least two signatures bear the names of dead people, Johnson told the Daily Herald. Johnson, a former North Chicago mayor, also said other people whose names are on the forms told him they didn't sign the petition.

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Link and Johnson each needed to collect at least 1,000 signatures of registered voters to appear on the primary ballot. If the elections board eliminates enough signatures after a formal review, a candidate can be kicked off a ballot.

The objections against Link's petition will be heard Monday by the state board of elections, but the case likely won't be resolved until later.

Three Link supporters have formally challenged Johnson's petitions, too, but the nature of those objections have not been made public.

Fitzgerald said he learned his name appeared on Link's petition from a Johnson campaign worker. Fitzgerald said he was "shocked and dismayed" by the revelation.

"This had to come from somewhere," Fitzgerald said. "Who told them to do this? Who gave the order to do this?"

Link laughed at Fitzgerald's accusation but also reacted sternly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"There was no malice or intent to do anything (fraudulent)," Link said. "I never told anybody to break the law."

Link, of Waukegan, and Johnson, of North Chicago, are after a 4-year term. Most of the district is in Lake County, but it also includes a small part of Cook County.

No Republicans filed to appear on the primary ballot for the 30th District race.

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