Republican gubernatorial candidate Gary Rabine’s attempt to strike rival Jesse Sullivan from the June 28 primary ballot failed Thursday at an Illinois State Board of Elections meeting for lack of evidence.
But ISBE members affirmed an objection to GOP gubernatorial hopeful and Wheaton resident Emily Johnson because of “fatally defective” petitions. The decision removes Johnson and the entire We Are The People Illinois! slate of candidates with whom she was running, and who align with former President Donald Trump.
ISBE members dismissed the Rabine campaign’s objection and agreed with a hearing officer’s findings that Sullivan had more than twice the number of signatures required.
The hearing officer also concluded that Rabine’s attorney “failed to present any evidence in support of his objection,” and the “gamesmanship in these proceedings borders on the frivolous.”
“Board rules do not provide for an objector to simply make a shotgun allegation, waive all opportunity to present evidence himself and ... expect the board to investigate and find him evidence to support his objection,” the officer said.
Sullivan spokesman Andrew Welhouse said: “The people of Illinois are sick and tired of insider tricks and dirty politics. Jesse Sullivan is the only candidate running on a positive platform with real ideas for how to save our home. It’s why voters will vote for real change on June 28.”
Rabine’s lieutenant governor running mate, Aaron Del Mar of Palatine, said: “We are very disappointed in the board of elections’ decision to dismiss the case. Roundtabling and fraudulent signatures was very clear and apparent in the submitted petition packet.”
Sullivan is a venture capitalist from Petersburg and Rabine is a McHenry County businessman. Other prominent candidates are Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, downstate Sen. Darren Bailey and former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo. The winner takes on Democratic incumbent Gov. JB Pritzker.
The board also considered objections filed against Republican gubernatorial candidates Max Solomon of Hazel Crest and Keisha Smith of Country Club Hills, plus Democrat Beverly Miles of Chicago.
Objections to Miles’ and Solomon’s petitions were overruled.
Smith, who had no running mate, is off the ballot.
With the objection to Johnson’s petitions, “This is a case where the inconsistent headings on the instant nominating papers make it impossible to know who is intended to be placed on the ballot,” ISBE attorneys said, adding that the mistakes rendered the forms “fatally defective.”
The We Are The People Illinois! slate comprised 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.
According to the group’s website, members are investigating “fraud in the 2020 election.” State election officials across the U.S. have confirmed that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election and there was not widespread voter fraud.
Democratic secretary of state candidate Sidney Moore of Homewood overcame three petition challenges.