Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Challenging times ahead for some judicial candidates

There are 117 active judicial candidates as of this writing, including the handful of Republicans running in the 12th and 13th Subcircuits. By my count, 49 of these candidates will face challenges to their nominating petitions, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The filing of an objection to a candidate's nominating petitions does not mean that there is anything really wrong with said nominating petitions, although it may.

Nearly every candidate's petitions were scrutinized in Cook County judicial races, looking for potential flaws -- but, just as one should not assume that an objection automatically leads to disqualification, neither should one assume that, because a candidate has not drawn an objection, his or her papers were truly 'bulletproof.'

To illustrate, I cite this item from the bottom of this post on Rich Miller's Capital Fax Blog yesterday:

(In the interest of accuracy, unfortunately, I have to include Mr. Mullen's reply to the IL Election Data tweet that Mr. Miller picked up yesterday.... The point, though, remains: A defective set of petitions, unless so obviously defective that the election authority has no choice but to toss it, will, if not challenged, get a candidate on the ballot.)

In any event, the decision to challenge -- or not -- may be based on factors other than the quality or quantity of signatures or the completeness of the other required forms. Candidate A may think that there is a valid basis upon which to challenge Candidate C. But if Candidate A thinks Candidate C will only hurt Candidate B, he not bother to challenge Candidate C. Candidate B may think the same thing -- but if she doesn't have the ready funds to mount a challenge, she may have to let Candidate C slide by.

Some challenges will be sustained; others will be dismissed. But any challenge will tie up resources that the challenged candidate might otherwise have put into advertising or mailers or other GOTV activities. There is an undeniably Machiavellian element involved in mounting a challenge... on the other hand, a certain recently retired POTUS got his start in Chicago politics by challenging his opponent off the ballot.

The Cook County Clerk's excellent website has been redesigned for this election cycle; readers will need to click on this link to track the progress of judicial candidate challenges through the Cook County Electoral Board (as of this writing none of the judicial challenges are yet posted). In past election cycles, the complaints filed in those challenges have been made available via the Clerk's website. I hope that this will again be the case, but it is not my place to promise it.

In any event, some patterns can already be seen in the who has been challenged, and who has not.

Every single countywide judicial candidate slated by the Democratic Party has, once again, escaped any ballot challenge. Many of their opponents, however, are being challenged.

A bench appointment is no guarantee against a ballot challenge. However, in the subcircuits, Judges Litricia Payne, Fredrick H. Bates, Toya T. Harvey, Travis Richardson, Debra A. Seaton, Patrick Thomas Stanton, David R. Navarro, John Andrew O'Meara, Robert Harris, Kent Delgado, Charles "Charlie" Beach, Stephanie K. Miller, Robin Denise Shoffner, Myron "Mike" Mackoff, Stephanie Saltouros, Gerald Cleary, Joanne F. Rosado, Michael Perry Gerber, Samuel J. Betar III, Marina E. Ammendola, and Anthony C. Swanagan did not draw challenges. Appointed judges who did draw challenges were Adrienne Elaine Davis, H. Yvonne Coleman, Marian Emily Perkins, Elizabeth Anne Karkula, and Michael A. Forti.


Anonymous said...

Judge Adrienne Davis also drew a challenge.

Jack Leyhane said...

You are correct. Post updated accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Hello all, E. P. here,

So speaking of challenges, there were four filed against several 6th sub-circuit candidates. Lots and lots of allegations contained therein. Including, but not limited to, allegations of major fraud, patterns of false swearing and criminal activity by several circulators.

These will be the challenges to watch since they will be very, very entertaining. And, mark my words, academy award winning performances by all the lawyers involved.

I love this time of year. As always, E.P.

Jack Leyhane said...

I can let E.P.'s comment through here (unlike others that I've flushed) because I've had an opportunity to start reviewing the various complaints lodged against the nominating petitions of 6th Subcircuit candidates. They ain't playin'.

Of course, charges, however splashy, even specific charges, are merely allegations. Whether any can be proved remains to be seen.

I hope to do a post or two about some of the more noteworthy challenges (not just in 6, E.P.) but that will take some effort and time. Meanwhile, readers who want to see what all the fuss is about for themselves can go to this page on the Cook County Clerk's excellent website and follow the prompts from there. Clicking on the highlighted case numbers JUD 01 through JUD 56 will eventually give you all the objections against all current #CookCountyJudicial candidates.