Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ballot slots – a race to be last

It’s one of those so-called “rules” that political people tend to give too much credence to – the idea that ballot slots make a big difference when it comes to getting votes on Election Day.

There were those hundreds of people who showed up at Illinois State Board of Elections offices Oct. 26 at 8 a.m. in hopes of getting the top spot on the ballot for each government position. In coming weeks, the state will conduct a lottery to break the ties to figure out whose name gets to be listed first.

BUT THERE ARE those people who believe that the next-best thing to being first is to be last. The idea is they don’t want to be stuck in the middle of a list of candidates.

Hence, some people who want to run for electoral office made a point of waiting until as late as they could Monday afternoon before filing the nominating petitions that are necessary to get a ballot spot for the Feb. 2 primary elections.

Take the Republican primary for governor – a campaign that is going to become a bloodbath between the old guard of the party and the conservative ideologues who think they have a superior vision.

Jim Ryan, the former state attorney general who lost a gubernatorial bid back in 2002, filed his nominating petitions to run for governor Monday at 4:18 p.m. Yet that’s not going to be good enough for him to get the bottom spot – Chicago business executive Andy McKenna filed petitions at 4:25 p.m.

THERE WAS A similar race to be last in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate from Illinois. Corey Dabney of Aurora thought he’d be able to get that bottom slot by filing petitions at 3:51 p.m., only to get beaten out by Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson at 3:59 p.m.

Now I know some political people look down on the people who wait – I once had a political candidate tell me with a straight face that anyone who didn’t have their nominating petitions ready to file with the state at 8 a.m. on the first filing day was somehow unorganized and not worthy of a vote on Election Day.

There is some evidence that the candidates who held out for the final day of filing are not going to be among the front-runners, although some of them were candidates for the state Legislature and for judicial posts who are counting on the fact that there won’t be much attention paid to them – and that they might be able to slip their way into a political post.

Somehow, I don’t think that Sylvester “Junebug” Hendricks is going to achieve political office. He filed his nominating petitions Monday at 4:11 p.m. to run for the Republican nomination for an Illinois House of Representatives seat on Chicago’s South Side.

WHAT CATCHES MY eye about his petitions is that he gives his home “address” as a post office box. Officially, he’s homeless. But, of course, we’re talking about a homeless man who has his own website – at http://sylvesterjunebughendricks.com/.

He’s also not the typical Republican official in that his website indicates he has a strong interest in urban issues and even is a supporter of President Barack Obama (his website indicates that Hendricks is an “Obama-can”).

Somehow, I don’t think state Rep. Will Burns, D-Chicago, is quivering in fear at the thought of the Junebug campaign – even though the freshman senator is at the point in his career where he is most vulnerable to an electoral challenger.

So when it comes to candidates being political stragglers, who was the absolute last to file their petitions?

INSOFAR AS STATEWIDE campaigns are concerned, two of the candidates for lieutenant governor were holdouts to the final minutes of the day.

Thomas Castillo of Elmhurst probably thought that getting his petitions for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in at 4:49 p.m. was late enough. But he got beaten out, in a sense, by state Rep. Mike Boland, D-East Moline, who filed his lieutenant governor nominating papers at 4:51 p.m.

Three candidates for a Cook County judicial subcircuit (Tracey Stokes, John Chwarzynski and Radusa Ostojic) filed their petitions to run as Democrats at 4:58 and 4:59 p.m.

Yet the absolute “loser” who hopes that it makes him into a “winner” may very well be Richard Mayers of Chicago. He is a Green Party type and he plans to use that political entity for his electoral aspirations this campaign season.

NOT THAT WE know yet which office he plans to seek.

He filed nominating petitions seeking the Green Party slot for governor, a seat in Congress and for a slot as a party state central committeeman.

He gives an address on the Southwest Side, but the Congressional post he’s seeking is the North Shore seat being abandoned by Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. – who hopes to move up to the U.S. Senate seat now held by retiring Roland Burris.

Does this mean he’s willing to move if elected? Does this mean he’s throwing his dreams to the wind, hoping to see where they land and what he can get?

THERE’S ONLY ONE thing I can say for sure.

The fact that he filed his nominating petitions right at 5 p.m. (closing time) means he was the absolute “last” candidate for the 2010 primary – which most likely will be his only achievement for this election cycle.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again, your reporting could use a little improvement. Richard Mayers is about as far from a "Green Party type" that as you can get. In fact, the Green Party got him kicked off their primary ballot in 2008, and hopefully will be able to do the same this time around.