Mayoral candidates Ja’Mal Green, Willie Wilson drop ballot challenges against each other

The ballot spots for community activist Green and millionaire businessman Wilson are expected to be secured at a board meeting next week.

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Mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green files nomination petitions for the 2023 Municipal Election at the Chicago Board of Elections Super Site at 191 N. Clark St. in the Loop, Monday morning, Nov. 21, 2022.

An ally of mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green has dropped a challenge to Willie Wilson’s nominating petitions.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

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Supporters of Chicago mayoral candidates Ja’Mal Green and Willie Wilson have dropped dueling efforts to remove the candidates’ names from the ballot in February’s municipal election.

Allies of both campaigns withdrew their respective nominating petition objections Wednesday evening, according to Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Max Bever.

Ballot spots for community activist Green and millionaire businessman Wilson are expected to be confirmed at a board meeting next week, when election commissioners will review the objection withdrawals. That process is considered a formality.

Green ally Kevin Hobby had challenged the validity of thousands of signatures that Wilson’s campaign collected to lock up a spot on the ballot. Former state Sen. Rickey Hendon, an adviser to Wilson’s campaign, did the same against Green’s stack of signatures.

Candidates need 12,500 signatures for a spot on the ballot, but they typically file several times that many to survive such ballot challenges — a uniquely Chicago brand of political gamesmanship.

At a Wednesday news conference, Green said that with little more than two months to go before the election, “we need to be focused on making sure the voters have a voice instead of focusing on petty conflicts at the Board of Elections.”

“At the end of the day, I could’ve continued — we know we had a very strong case … but it’s not what this is about,” Green said. “I want to allow Willie Wilson to run his race, he’s gonna allow me to run mine, and I’m gonna beat him Feb. 28.”

Former state Sen. Rickey Hendon speaks to the media as Chicago mayoral candidate Dr. Willie Wilson listens during the ballot placement lottery for the 2023 Chicago municipal elections at the Chicago Board of Elections Supersite in the Loop, Tuesday morning, Dec. 6, 2022.

Former state Sen. Rickey Hendon speaks to the media as Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson listens during the ballot placement lottery for the 2023 Chicago municipal elections at the Chicago Board of Elections Supersite in the Loop, Tuesday morning, Dec. 6, 2022.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

A spokesman for Wilson’s campaign declined to comment. Wilson has said the attempt to knock Green off the ballot was Hendon’s effort alone.

Bad blood has lingered between Green and Hendon since the 2019 mayoral election, with a social media feud boiling over into a shouting match at the Board of Elections in which Green allegedly told Hendon, “Yo mama!”

“I was like, ‘All right. Tell you what: If you ever run for anything — dogcatcher or butt-kisser — I’m gonna kick you off the ballot,” Hendon previously told the Sun-Times. “I made him a promise.”

Hendon couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

He’s also objected to the election papers filed by another mayoral hopeful, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th). A hearing in that challenge is scheduled for next week, as is one in a separate objection against Chicago police Officer Frederick Collins.

Pending those decisions, the field so far has been culled to 10 in the race to unseat incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot, after the election board ruled Thursday that candidate Johnny Logalbo didn’t have enough valid signatures to stay on the ballot.

Lightfoot’s other challengers are Ald. Sophia King (4th), state Rep. Kam Buckner, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

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