Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

2014’s First Filing Deadline Has Come and Gone

Several Republicans have filed paperwork to challenge Foster. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The first 2014 candidate filing deadline passed on Monday, solidifying a number of competitive primaries in the Land of Lincoln.

Two of the most competitive seats in Illinois, the 11th and 12th Districts, will host crowded primaries — provided the contenders survive petition challenges.

Five Republicans are looking to take on Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., in the 11th District, including state Rep. Darlene Senger and Grundy County Board Member Chris Balkema.

Freshman Rep. Rodney Davis has two GOP primary opponents in the 13th District: Former Miss America Erika Harold and former local school board official Mike Firsching, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2010 and 2012. Four Democrats have filed to run for the nod, including former judge Ann Callis, college professor George Gollin, peace activist David Green and school bus driver Bill Byrnes.

Four Republicans have also filed to run against Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., in 2014: dairy magnate and state Sen. Jim Oberweis, Air Force veteran William Lee, Army veteran Doug Traux and busiesswoman Armen Alvarez.

To be sure, all the candidates who filed to run may not appear on the March 18 primary ballot. In Illinois, campaigns often examine opponents’ petitions for invalid signatures in an effort to remove them from the ballot.

“Illinois is a state where the threshold for becoming a candidate is very high; there are very specific rules for signed notarized pages,” said Illinois Democratic consultant Tom Bowen. “So even though the signature count isn’t very high, it’s not unusual to see a bunch of people file and then get knocked off the ballot.”

Operatives and lawyers in Illinois have already requested to view candidate petitions, according to records on the Illinois State Board of Elections website. For example, records show Balkema has requested to view Senger’s ballot petition, according to records on the SBOE website.

Democratic and Republican candidates must garner signatures from at least 0.5 percent of the registered voters in their party in their respective districts, according to the State Board of Elections. These signature requirements vary between 145 for a Republican running in the heavily Democratic 4th District, and 1,322 for a Democrat running in the liberal 7th District based in downtown Chicago.
Illinois’ March 18 primary is the second earliest primary in the country, following Texas. The next filing deadline for congressional candidates is Dec. 9 in the Lone Star State.

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