Presidential candidates file for Illinois primary; Trump challenged

As presidential candidates submitted their nomination papers in Springfield, a group of voters filed a formal objection to former president Donald Trump — hoping to remove the Republican frontrunner from the Illinois primary ballot.

Five objectors claim in a filing with the Illinois State Board of Elections that Trump cannot run since he encouraged the riot inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. This, they argue, blocks him from seeking public office under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection disqualification clause.

“Trump gave aid and comfort to enemies of the Constitution by, among other things: encouraging and counseling the insurrectionists; deliberately failing to exercise his authority and responsibility as President to quell the insurrection; praising the insurrectionists,” the objection reads.

The objectors include Steven Anderson of Lindenhurst, Darryl Baker of Colfax, Ralph Cintron of Chicago, Jack Hickman of Fairview Heights, and Charles Holley of Chicago. Free Speech for People, a non-partisan anti-corruption group, and two Chicago law firms are representing the group.

Objections to nomination papers for presidential candidates and delegates can be filed with ISBOE until Jan. 12.

The challenge to Trump’s candidacy comes after courts in Colorado and Maine ruled that he cannot run on the insurrection grounds, which his campaign is seeking to overturn. Illinois joins 17 other states where objections have been filed to bar Trump from appearing on the ballot.

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Matt Dietrich, ISBOE spokesperson, previously told The State Journal-Register that emails from individuals and groups have requested that the state election authority remove Trump from the ballot. ISBOE’s role, however, is limited by the Illinois Supreme Court and any action would either come from a court order or through the state General Assembly, he said.

Thursday was the first day for Democratic and Republican candidates to file nomination papers with ISBOE and needed 3,000 voter signatures to qualify. A crowd of 20 campaign staff and delegates gathered outside the MacArthur Boulevard office before filing began at 8 a.m. Candidates have until 5 p.m., Friday to file.

Representatives of President Joe Biden, Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn.; author Marianne Williamson, and Texas Republican Ryan Binkley were among those filing as of Thursday afternoon. Independent and new party candidates such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. can file starting June 17.

Trump supporters made up the majority of GOP voices. Former gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey, now running in the 12th congressional district, was among them.

Despite the challengers and objectors, Bailey said that Trump’s path to winning the primary is his to lose.

“He’s got that wrapped up, hands down,” Bailey said Thursday outside the ISBOE office. “That’s why all this drama is coming against him, it’s a war of attrition.”

Illinois will welcome Democrats to Chicago in August for the 2024 Democratic National Convention. The reliably-blue state has been carried by Democratic presidential candidates since 1988.

Liz Brown-Reeves, a Springfield resident and Biden delegate for the 15th Congressional District said the convention’s presence in Illinois will be a boost for the party.

The mood is much different from just four years ago, she said.

“You had Democrats on all sorts of different campaigns and really split,” Brown-Reeves, a 2020 Biden delegate recalled. “You’ll see it is a very unified front.”

Voters will head to the polls for the primary election on March 19.

Contact Patrick M. Keck: 312-549-9340, pkeck@gannett.com, twitter.com/@pkeckreporter.



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