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Brown booted from ballot, but Sales-Griffin wins fight against his mayoral bid

Dorothy Brown was dropped from the mayoral ballot Tuesday by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, bringing the field of contenders to 14.

While the clerk of the Circuit Court wouldn’t rule out challenging the board’s decision, she also said she planned to throw her support behind someone who can “bring true change to the city of Chicago.”

She plans to meet with individual candidates to determine whom she will endorse, she said at a news conference after the board’s decision. However, she will not meet with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who lodged a challenge that ended up knocking Brown off the ballot.

“I don’t accept the decision of the Chicago Board of Elections, but at this point I have made the decision to endorse a candidate that is interested [in], and is committed to, bringing change to the city of Chicago,” Brown said.

Preckwinkle’s challenge left Brown 949 signatures below the 12,500 minimum needed to stay on the ballot. The hearing officer in Brown’s case recommended last week that the clerk’s name not appear on the ballot and the board upheld that decision at its meeting Tuesday morning.

Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown (right) and one of her attorneys, Mable Taylor, speak during a hearing before the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, Tuesday morning, Jan. 22, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown (right) and one of her attorneys, Mable Taylor, speak during a hearing before the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, Tuesday morning, Jan. 22, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Businessman Willie Wilson, who dropped his challenge against Brown last week, said in a statement he wishes her “all the best.”

“We learned today that my fellow mayoral candidate Dorothy Brown will not make the ballot for next month’s race for the mayor of the city of Chicago,” Wilson’s statement read. “As I withdrew my petition challenge of Ms. Brown’s candidacy, I also would like to publicly state that she is under no obligation to support me or my campaign in any way. My withdraw last week was unconditional and the right thing to do.”

Chicago mayoral candidates Willie Wilson and Dorothy Brown shake hands as they speak to reporters outside the Board of Elections after Wilson withdrew his objection to Brown, Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 15, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chicago mayoral candidates Willie Wilson and Dorothy Brown shake hands as they speak to reporters outside the Board of Elections after Wilson withdrew his objection to Brown last week. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Faring better than Brown was tech entrepreneur Neal Sales-Griffin, who was allowed to remain on the ballot.

The tech entrepreneur was down more than 2,300 signatures because of a challenge from  Wilson. Wilson moved to withdraw his challenge last week, however, but the board denied Wilson’s request. But in the end, the commissioners allowed Sales-Griffin to remain a candidate.

A beaming Sales-Griffin was surprised after Tuesday’s decision.

“We managed to do the unthinkable and work our way onto the ballot having submitted some of the fewest signatures out of any of the candidates,” Sales-Griffin said, going on to explain the exhaustive petition challenge process.

“I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, a lot of questionnaires to answer, a lot of forum invitations to say ‘yes’ to. I’m excited to re-enter the race with this newfound energy and steam thanks to the good people of Chicago.”