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*** UPDATED x1 *** Claypool in the clear while “birther” objects to Cohen, others, and a look at the numbers

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2010 - Posted by Rich Miller

* There will be no challenge to Cook County Assessor candidate Forrest Claypool’s petitions

Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Joseph Berrios dropped his challenge of ballot petitions filed by county Commissioner Forrest Claypool on Monday, setting up a four-way race for the assessor’s office in the general election.

“It would be irresponsible to subject either the public authorities or our opponent to the cost, time and effort of litigation, perhaps all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court,” said Berrios spokesman Manuel Galvan. “Instead, the campaign asks Mr. Claypool to set aside the insults and empty rhetoric, and pledge to conduct a spirited, fair and clean campaign. The public deserves nothing less.”

Claypool, running as an independent, called the announcement “a critical victory for taxpayers and a blow to the insiders like Joe Berrios, who have used government to protect the powerful instead of the people.”

“We will take our message of reform to the voters of Cook County,” Claypool added, “and we will give them a chance, on Nov. 2, to declare their independence.”

…Adding… I didn’t notice this, but it’s surely an interesting story

The Forrest Claypool campaign for assessor has asked Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to look into harassment of its campaign workers by someone impersonating a sheriff’s deputy or other law official.

According to Claypool campaign manager Tom Bowen, one or more people flashing badges visited campaign workers over the weekend — one at 8:30 a.m. Saturday — and asked them to sign false affidavits denying that they’d circulated nominating petitions for Mr. Claypool and/or that they’d used another notary beyond the one on official forms.

One of those with a badge said he was with “the board of elections” and another with “the county Democratic committee,” Mr. Bowen said.

Ms. Alvarez’s spokesman confirmed that the office is reviewing the matter, but said they’ve urged the Claypool camp to first file a police report.


Also, from Joe Berrios’ press release

Of the 89,913 signatures:

* Mr. Claypool personally deleted 1,301 bad signatures.
* Nearly 53,000 suspect signatures, including many who weren’t registered to vote in Cook County, or didn’t sign the petitions themselves or signed more than once.
* Circulator ineligibility would have reduced the total by another 6,000 signatures.
* Additionally, another 6,000 more alleged valid signatures may have been ineligible on other grounds.
* Short of further legal action in the courts, the Berrios Campaign believes that there would be 30,000 to 32,000 valid signatures remaining, and the law requires 25,000 signatures to file as an independent candidate.

* An objection was filed to Scott Lee Cohen’s petitions yesterday, but nobody near Gov. Pat Quinn did it. Instead, the objection was filed by an infamous Illinois “birther” named Sharon Meroni. Some background from a January story in the Daily Herald

A Fox River Grove-based blogger questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama lost her bid Wednesday to have a special grand jury empaneled to investigate her claims.

McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather rejected the petition for a grand jury filed by Sharon Ann Meroni, founder of Patriot’s Heart Media Network, saying there is no lawful justification for it. “There is no legal basis for you to do what you’re asking to do,” Prather told Meroni in court.

“The law does not allow it. There are no facts pled in your petition which would require what you’re seeking.”

Meroni’s online nom de plume is “Chalice Jackson,” and her latest effort revolves around forcing President Obama’s resignation. There’s nothing on her blog about the challenge to Cohen and numerous others, but when I know more, so will you. All told, Ms. Meroni filed 32 petition objections yesterday.

*** UPDATE *** With a hat tip to a commenter, Meroni has updated her blog with a post about why she filed the objections. It’s all about the birth

The objection is based on the fact that there is no evidence that any of the candidates fit US and Illinois Constitutional mandates of age and citizenship requirements. For the most part, the age of a candidate is generally easy to discern. Citizenship status is not.

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* Gov. Quinn was involved with at least one challenge, however

Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday he knows people who had been examining signatures filed on behalf of William “Doc” Walls III, whose name was removed from the Democratic primary ballot. Walls has filed as an independent for governor. [..]

The objector is Blake Phillip Sercye of Chicago, who Quinn said Monday he knows.

“I’m sure he was concerned, like I am, in making sure the election law is complied with,” Quinn said. “Several of the people that I know counted the names, and he (Walls) clearly has insufficient signatures.”

A partial list of others who face objections

Among other candidates facing objections: are Will Boyd Jr., Greenville, an independent for U.S. Senate; former East St. Louis Mayor Carl Officer, a Practical Party candidate for U.S. Senate; Corey Dabney of Aurora, independent for U.S. Senate; Shon-Tiyon “Santiago” Horton, Alton, independent for U.S. Senate; Christopher Pedersen, Joliet, various offices including U.S. Senate; Gregg Moore of Chicago, independent for governor; Andy Martin, Illinois Reform party for U.S. Senate; Stephen Estill, Mason City, independent for governor; Michael White, Constitution Party candidate for governor; Mike Labno of Oak Brook, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate; Lex Green of Bloomington, Libertarian for governor.

Atheist Rob Sherman filed an objection against Carl Officer’s US Senate campaign. Four objections were filed against Officer’s petitions by various people. Sherman filed objections to several other candidates as well, including Andy Martin.

* And Paul Green looks at the gubernatorial numbers

In 2006 Chicago cast 18.7 percent of the statewide vote while suburban Cook counted for another 19 percent. A strong Democratic turnout for the Cook County Board president’s race or even the possibility of a highly publicized three-way fight for Cook County assessor could drive the county’s turnout above the 1,350,915 votes in 2006. Assuming Quinn eventually starts campaigning and begins spelling out Brady’s record on controversial social issues, it is highly likely that Quinn’s chances for victory will improve greatly.

Clearly there is nothing Brady can do to stifle Cook County’s turnout. Brady’s best hope in Cook County is to keep social issues off the political table and concentrate on his high cards - Democratic economics and Blagojevich.

In raw numbers if Quinn comes out of Cook County with 500,000-plus votes over Brady - same as in 2006 - the geopolitics of Illinois will become a heavy burden for the downstate Republican. To be sure, Brady as a downstater would have a far better chance to surpass Topinka’s 2006 performance in closing the Cook County gap. Still, it would be a very steep climb. […]

Still looming above all these issues is the math. Unless there is GOP surge in Chicago or a Republican rebound in north and west areas of suburban Cook, the odds are great that Quinn will leave Cook with an enormous lead and a powerful leg up on winning the governorship. Perhaps the ultimate question is whether Quinn will have enough oomph elsewhere in Illinois to take advantage of his party’s favorable geopolitical edge and eke out a victory in an admittedly bad Democratic year.

* Related…

* Chicago machine fails to eliminate Crenshaw - so far


  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 10:56 am:

    Birthers against Cohen and Atheists against Carl Officer? If I weren’t such a bright-eyed idealist, I’d suspect Meroni and Sherman are hired guns for some strange bedfellows. The family is big on buffers.

  2. - anon - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 11:00 am:

    You don’t mean Sharon Elman in that item.

  3. - Tom - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 11:06 am:

    Paul Green is smoking crack if he thinks dem turn out is going to be anything like it was in 2006 for Cook. Enthusiasm levels for democratic voters are terrible. It is not going to get any better. His analysis is spot on wrong. Take it to the bank.

  4. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 11:09 am:

    Berrios makes it sound like he’s doing us all a favor by sparing us a challenge. Sounds more like the Claypool team had their stuff together and ran a first-rate petition process. If this was a sloppy effort, Berrios would have gone to the Supreme Court. As it stands, they took a look and found no way to knock him off.

    Again, great job by the Claypool campaign.

  5. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 11:10 am:

    wow, I guess the Burt Odelsons of the Berrios world figured
    they could not match the Claypool lawyers! that, in itself,
    is very interesting. it is simply not like the Berrios types
    to let something like this go.

  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 11:10 am:

    Thanks anon. That’s a different story I’m working on. lol Fixed.

  7. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 11:26 am:

    Meroni now has a post on her blog. She wants the candidates to prove “constitutional eligibility.” Shes writes, in part: “For the most part, the age of a candidate is generally easy to discern. Citizenship status is not.”

    Basically, she want everyone to show a valid birth certificate. How she can determine age without a birth certificate is beyond me.

    Frankly, I wonder if she can prove her citizenship well enough to satisfy her own skepticism.

  8. - CookDem - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 11:33 am:

    Based on the Paul Simon Institute poll of downstate voters Quinn would have to win Cook by almost 700,000 votes and break even in the Collars to beat Brady. That is quite an uphill slog if you ask me. If Quinn can significantly improve his performance Downstate this becomes a much easier race for him. Quinn also needs to get up on tv and define brady as an extremmist soon, otherwise Brady will lock down the Collars and put great pressure on the Dems to bring out several hundred thousand 2008 drop-off voters. That will be a very heavy lift in this type of electoral environment. It will be interesting to watch.

  9. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 11:39 am:

    Green’s got a point. Neither Dems or Repubs are very excited about their choices this year. And you start off with a lot more D voters in Illinois. No one ever lost money betting on the IL GOP to blow an opportunity anyway.

    Re the “birther” filing objections. Ironic she’s also filing against Andy Martin. He’s been one of the big pushers of the birth certificate thing where Obama is concerned. He’s even gone to Hawaii to file suit. But I heard Martin filed like one signature so I think it’s moot anyway for him. Although if no objection mentions lack of signatures he would presumably survive. Same with the rest.

  10. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:46 pm:

    I admit that I was wrong about Claypool. I figured they’d throw an army at him and there was no way for him to survive. Hats off to Bowen and the team (with the help of the entire Chicago press corps) for their great work getting this done. Wow.

  11. - Tom - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:10 pm:

    –just saying….the informed voter preference for congressional seats is plus 14 republican…I’d call that a whole lot more excitement then what the dems are showing.

  12. - Bill - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:29 pm:

    Actually, Berrios and MadAgain know that Forest “Gump” Claypool will pose little if any threat so why bother with a challenge. They’ll just wait to humiliate him in Nov. By the way, has the Gump ever had a real job outside of gov’t. He quit the only office that he was ever elected to. Once a Daley punk, always a Daley punk. He needs to talk to Kirk’s resume writer and fabricate himself a life.

  13. - Conservative Veteran - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:51 pm:

    I’m excited about voting for Sen. Bill Brady and former Sen. Roger Keats. I think that the majority of Cook Co. Republicans agree with me, about both races.

  14. - downstate hack - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:57 pm:

    Scott Lee Cohen not in the Race would be a disappointment: Unlike other statewide candidates he can truthfully say:

    I did not lie about my my military record.
    I did not free and lose track of any convicts.
    I paid Illinois taxes.
    I did not loan money to the mob.

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 2:02 pm:

    DH, that was snark, right?

  16. - downstate hack - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 3:14 pm:

    Yes, definite Snark

  17. - CLJ - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 3:28 pm:

    If the overwhelming lack of turn out in the primary is any indication, the General should end up being one of the worst voter turn outs ever. Why get excited about any of these candidates. The triple-D and triple-R voters will come out. I doubt you’ll find much more than that.

    As for Claypool, don’t see much of the regular Democrats coming to his side, see 2006 County Board President Election. There just won’t be enough voters for him to likely succeed.

  18. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 4:05 pm:

    Naturally, Green is correct. Expect Quinn to campaign in Chicago, and Brady to campaign everywhere else. These campaigns are going to look like two guys running for governor in two different states.

    I don’t see turnout strong enough for Quinn at this point, however.

  19. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 4:21 pm:


    I think your analysis is slightly off the mark. I also see at best an average turnout.

    However, I think that D vote will be slightly depressed over past years, the R vote slightly more than historic averages, and a big move of the Independent vote from those who backed Obama to the R camp.

    A few weeks ago, I said that the D hopes are pinned on Mayor Daley firing up the troops to GOTV (or at least firing up the Xerox machines to create the votes). With Daley’s wife extremely ill, and his apparent lackluster enthusiasm toward another run (Mayor Rahmbo?), I don’t see the normal fire in the belly from the Mayor.

    These factors, added together, could spell doom for the Democrats who must carry Cook County by several hundred thousand votes in order to compensate for the votes in the rest of the state. If they fail, we can see results which have a few surprises come election day.

  20. - JeffTrigg - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 4:23 pm:

    I am predicting that none of Meroni’s objections are valid. They will all be overruled and thrown out next week. If Meroni was the only objector to a candidate, you can assume they will be on the ballot.

    It looks like Deena Daily (102nd) will be Illinois’ first independent candidate for the General Assembly since 1980. Curious if she had the sigs or just didn’t get challenged.

    She is also the first independent candidate to take advantage of Lee v. Keith, which ruled the previous deadline for independents unconstitutional. Prior to the 2008 election, independents had to file at the same time as Rs and Ds, not with the alternative parties.

    Statewide candidates that got 5,000 sigs and district candidates who got as many as the Rs and Ds needed should also be allowed on the ballots this year. The word Equal means something, and they have a better case in light of new election laws passed.

  21. - No More Fenwick - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 5:44 pm:

    Quinn knows Seryce for sure! Seryce once worked for Quinn and Seryce is one of those Fenwick graduates that Quinn loves so much. Not sure why Quinn felt the need to downplay it, though.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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