Lightfoot stays on mayoral ballot; Preckwinkle campaign drops petition challenge

SHARE Lightfoot stays on mayoral ballot; Preckwinkle campaign drops petition challenge

Lori Lightfoot (left) and Toni Preckwinkle | Sun-Times file photos

Former Police Board president Lori Lightfoot will remain on the ballot for next year’s Chicago mayoral election.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners on Monday announced it had found Lightfoot submitted 24,483 valid signatures; 12,500 are required to qualify for the ballot.

“I’m a happy person today,” Lightfoot declared after the ruling.

With that finding, the campaign of County Board President Toni Preckwinkle withdrew its challenge to Lightfoot’s petitions. A campaign representative did not respond to a phone call and email requesting further comment.

“We slayed the machine today. But they will regroup and come back and try to stop us from being an independent, reform candidate,” said Lightfoot, referring to Preckwinkle as “a party boss exercising a relic of the machine intended to suppress competition.”

The Preckwinkle campaign had challenged about 23,700 of the 32,575 signatures Lightfoot filed to get on the ballot.

The Cook County Board president said in her challenge that signatures Lightfoot filed include some from unregistered voters and non-Chicago residents, as well as duplicates and some that have incomplete addresses. Others are forgeries, her campaign says.

Lightfoot had filed a motion last week seeking to dismiss Preckwinkle’s challenges. At that time, she also had blamed her mayoral rival for making election board employees work over the holidays as they race to verify candidates and finalize a ballot for the Feb. 26 election.

“They’re going to be working on Christmas Eve,” Lightfoot said then. “Merry Christmas, Toni Preckwinkle. We should just give her a bag of coal.”

The Preckwinkle campaign earlier had dropped a more explosive charge that some of Lightfoot’s circulators’ signature sheets demonstrated a “pattern of fraud.”

Contributing: Alexandra Arriaga

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