As the first day of candidate filing for the mayoral election nears, one of the biggest looming questions is: Who will produce enough signatures to be on the Feb. 24 citywide ballot?
William J. Kelly, who describes himself as the only Republican in the race to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel, says he has no doubt voters will see his name on the final list of contenders. Kelly said Monday he has about 20,000 signatures, which he believes gives him a big enough cushion over the requirement of 12,500 to survive any challenges. Kelly said he has been “out every day with a petition crew.”
He also said he has been surprised he has not run into as many petition circulators for other candidates as he expected.
Other candidates say they, too, will be in the running. For example, community activist and mayoral candidate Amara Enyia did not give a signature number but said, “We know we will be on the ballot.”
Frederick Collins said his petition drive passed the required number two weeks ago “and we’re still going strong.” Collins said he has 260 volunteers collecting names.
If his signature-gathering performance four years ago is any indication, William “Dock” Walls also will be on the ballot.
As an early announced candidate, Ald. Bob Fioretti got a head start, and campaign spokesman Aaron Lorence said Fioretti has enough signatures. Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia announced his candidacy for mayor just last month, but is seen has having a good chance of getting enough signatures anyway.
Mayoral candidate Bob Shaw said he has collected about 20,000 signatures and is certain voters will see his name on Election Day.
“[But] I don’t think half these candidates will be there,” Shaw added. “I don’t think they will have enough signatures.”
The signature requirement typically knocks some contenders out of the race as competitors file objections. Four years ago, there were 20 contenders at the close of filing. By the time the ballots were printed up, only six names remained.