‘More than usual’ objections filed against Illinois political candidates this year

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The objection adjudication process began Tuesday, bringing forth multiple challenges against Central Illinois political candidates’ petitions.

In the governor’s race, the GOP candidate is having his petitions challenged by GOP opponent Gary Rabine’s team. Matthew Custardo, Rabine’s campaign attorney, filed an objection against Sullivan and his running mate Kathleen Murphy.

When WMBD asked Rabine why his team decided to challenge Sullivan’s petitions, he provided the following response:

“We believe in election integrity not only at the polling place on election day, but also getting on the ballot as well.”

Gary Rabine | GOP Gubernatorial Candidate

The Illinois State Board of Elections provided WMBD with the documents showing Custardo’s challenge, which alleges that Sullivan and Murphy have an insufficient number of signatures to qualify for office.

The challenge also alleges that some people are not registered voters, and that others signed the nomination papers with signatures that are “not genuine.”

The report also states that Custardo objects that the nomination papers have petition sheets that “demonstrate a pattern of fraud and disregard of the election code.” Twelve people were named in the challenge.

Sullivan’s team sent the following statement to WMBD in response.

“Corrupt Illinois politicians from both parties, and Michael Madigan in particular, have used these tactics for decades to rig Illinois elections in their favor. Those same interests are worried about a Governor Sullivan. And they should be. He is the only political outsider in this race capable of ending the insider games and the back room deals on which politicians feast.”

“While lawyers are arguing about whether our petition pages were secured with staples or paperclips, Jesse is working directly with our state’s sheriffs on a plan to take back our streets, meeting with parents and educators in Lake and Winnebago counties to talk about delivering school choice to Illinois families, and speaking with thousands of Republican voters about his ethics agenda. We look forward to a swift victory and putting this political sideshow behind us.”

Sullivan Spokesperson statement to WMBD

These objections are also impacting local candidates running in different state representative races.

Tazewell County Treasurer Mary Burress, who is running for the 87th District, is one of the candidates being challenged.

Burress told WMBD, “the objection filed by Mr. Alexander is petty and frivolous, and will be dismissed. I will be on the ballot and look forward to competing for Republican votes in my new District.”

The challenger is listed as Joe Alexander from Clinton.

Political newcomer Travis Weaver is also being challenged. Weaver tells WMBD it’s a “tactic being used by his opponent.”

“I’ve had multiple legal professionals tell me this is one of the most frivolous challenges they’ve ever seen. It’s a clear tactic by my opponent to distract from the fact that he has an anti-business, anti-farmer voting record and is incredibly conflicted as he is a State Rep while also being mayor.”

“The challenge alleges that I don’t live at the address I claim because it is listed as a wedding venue. There is a barn on the property that is becoming a wedding venue, but anybody can drive down War Memorial towards Kickapoo and see there is clearly a home. And if they drive by late at night or early in the morning they’ll see my car parked in the driveway.”

“The challenge also alleges I lived in Chicago until recently because that is where Caterpillar listed my office address. This is a shot in the dark. Everybody in Peoria knows that Cat was fully remote during the pandemic. I did hold a temporary residence there at one time, but my priories were always in Central Illinois and I fully transitioned home once remote work began over two years ago.”

Travis Weaver | IL-93 Candidate (R)

There are 140 total objections listed on the Illinois State Board of Election’s website. Matt Dietrich, the Public Information Officer with the State Board of Elections, said the amount is “more than usual.”

Two Democratic candidates for Illinois’ 17th Congressional District are also being challenged. These candidates are Bradley Martin and Jacqueline McGowan.