An objection to the petition papers of state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), pictured, was overruled by an electoral board hearing officer on Jan. 8. The objection was filed in December by Forest Park resident Brian Kuhr, who claimed that Welch had filed more than 1,500 signatures, the maximum number permitted by the Illinois Election Code.
Kuhr also claimed that Welch’s nomination papers contained duplicated or forged signatures. He claimed that some of the signatures were from people with missing addresses or who aren’t registered to vote in the 7th District, which includes a large swath of Proviso Township (Maywood included).
A summary report issued by the Cook County Board of Elections on Dec. 20 indicated that Welch’s nomination papers “contained a total of 839 valid signatures which equated to 339 signatures greater than the required minimum of 500.”
The overruled objection clears the way for a head-to-head race between Welch and former Forest Park commissioner Chris Harris, pictured right, in the upcoming March 15 Democratic Primary.
In a statement released in the wake of the hearing officer’s decision, Harris noted that the “hearings may be over, but the details of Representative Welch’s sloppy nominating petitions are still turning heads throughout the 7th District. The facts are: A sitting state representative turned in paperwork so riddled with errors and fraudulent signatures that nearly half of the signatures were disqualified immediately.”
Welch defeated former Forest Park commissioner Rory Hoskins by a razor-slim margin of victory in 2012 to win a seat in the General Assembly. In 2014, Welch successfully ran unchallenged after Maywood insurance agent Antoinette Gray was removed from the ballot.
“I was always confident that the objection filed by Mr. Kuhr on behalf of Chris Harris was frivolous,” Welch said. “I look forward to continuing the conversation with the voters of the 7th District as I go door-to-door.”
Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough Unchallenged After Objection to Opponent’s Petitions Sustained
First-term Cook County Recorder of Deeds and Maywood resident Karen Yarbrough will likely cruise into a second term after an objection filed to the petition papers of her erstwhile Democratic challenger Jan Kowalksi was sustained by an electoral board hearing officer.
The objection, which was filed by former Maywood Trustee Audrey Jaycox, noted that Kowalski’s nominating papers contained the signatures of people who aren’t registered to vote in Cook County, among other complaints.
Kowalski, a Chicago attorney, was the only candidate to file paperwork in order to challenge Yarbrough. The former state representative assumed the Recorder’s office after beating longtime incumbent Eugene “Gene” Moore, also a Maywood resident. VFP
CORRECTION: Rep. Welch defeated Rory Hoskins in 2012, not 2013. This post has since been updated. VFP regrets this error.