Slate of Trump supporters faces rejection from ballot

  • The Illinois State Board of Elections will determine the fates of several dozen campaigns facing objections at the group's Thursday meeting.

      The Illinois State Board of Elections will determine the fates of several dozen campaigns facing objections at the group's Thursday meeting. Rick West | Staff Photographer, 2014

 
 
Updated 4/20/2022 1:51 PM

A slate of candidates seeking statewide offices who aligned themselves with former President Donald Trump and election fraud conspiracy theories could be rejected from Republican primary ballots.

Hearing officers from the state's election board are recommending the six names on the "We Are The People Illinois" slate be left off the June 28 ballots, according to the election board's agenda on its website.

 

Gubernatorial candidate Emily Johnson and running mate Brett Mahlen, secretary of state candidate Michelle Turney, comptroller candidate Michael Kinney, treasurer candidate Patrice McDermand and U.S. Senate candidate MaryAnn Mahlen constitute the slate.

On the group's website, the candidates claim to "have organized various committees based on our individual strengths to unite the people of Illinois to take back their government from those who have usurped their positions through unlawful means."

Johnson's bio on the website states: "I will campaign with Trump and stand beside him as we fix the fraudulent election."

The hearing officers noted several pages of nominating papers were altered after they were signed by voters, "rendering the nominating papers fatally defective."

The elections board will make the final determination at its Thursday morning meeting, though the board usually follows the hearing officers' recommendations.

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Meanwhile, hearing officers recommended rejecting other objections to high-profile candidates for governor and Congress, according to the 635-page agenda released late Tuesday. That includes objections to two GOP gubernatorial candidates, Max Solomon and Jesse Sullivan, as well as Democrat Beverly Miles.

Attorneys for Sullivan's campaign requested "sanctions" against objector Matthew Custardo, a Naperville lawyer, and fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Gary Rabine, who hearing officers said was responsible for Custardo's filing the objection, despite Custardo's initially indicating otherwise.

Attorneys for the election board said they were "not aware of authority that would permit the board to sanction objector or the Rabine campaign as requested by the candidates, as an attorney, I am deeply concerned about Mr. Custardo's representations in this proceeding."

The board's unnamed attorney stated an inclination to "personally" file a complaint against Custardo with the state's Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission "given my ethical duties as an attorney in this state."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Custardo could not be reached for comment.

An objection to incumbent 10th District Democratic congressman Brad Schneider's candidacy was also recommended for denial by a hearing officer.

Two people had filed an objection that Schneider had "falsely represented his residency" on his candidate paperwork. Schneider recently built a new house in Highland Park and listed it as his residence, but the objectors claimed that Highland Park hadn't issued an occupancy certificate. Schneider and his wife sold their Deerfield home in January.

The hearing officer determined there was no intent to mislead or confuse anyone who signed his nominating petitions.

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