Dec 12, 2022 - Politics

Mayoral ballot battles begin

Politician in a suit

Businessman Willie Wilson announces his run for mayor in the 2023 election at his downtown high-rise residence in April. Photo: Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Board of Election Commissioners begin hearings today to determine who stays on the 2023 mayoral ballot.

Why it matters: The Chicago tradition of challenging signatures pulls back the curtain on the rough-and-tumble tactics used in local politics — and it can make or break candidacies.

  • As they say, politics ain't beanbag.

Context: It takes 12,500 signatures to qualify for the mayoral ballot — more than in most major cities.

  • Residents can challenge signature counts for any number of reasons, including illegibility.

Driving the news: Challenges have been filed against candidates Ja'Mal Green, Johnny Logalbo, Frederick Collins, Roderick Sawyer and Willie Wilson.

  • Green and Sawyer are being challenged by former state senator and current consultant Rickey Hendon on behalf of Wilson.
  • Wilson and other candidates bounced Green and Dorothy Brown from the ballot in 2019.
  • The Chicago Board of Election was "furious" with the Wilson campaign that year for what they deemed frivolous, expensive challenges.

The other side: Not to be outdone, Wilson is being challenged by Kevin Hobby on Green's behalf.

The intrigue: According to The TRiiBE, Hendon was recorded on a phone call allegedly bribing Hobby to drop the petition challenge against Wilson.

  • "If you withdraw, I will take care of you. And you can tell me how much you would need," Hendon allegedly said.
  • Wilson said he "doesn't condone bribes."

What they're saying: "The old way of politics is pulling some desperate moves to drag me and my campaign down," Green said in a statement.

  • "The city's corrupt nature shows its face almost out in the open now."

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