By Mark Wachtler
September 25, 2014. St. Louis. (ONN) The race for US Representative in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District is certainly colorful. First, independent candidate Josh Dill from the Lincoln Liberty Party was thrown off the ballot. Now, to protect a very vulnerable Republican incumbent, the GOP is questioning the Democratic nominee’s eligibility. Former Judge Ann Callis admits living part time in Missouri while serving as an Illinois judge. But she swears Illinois is her real home.
Josh Dill, Lincoln Liberty Party, kicked off the IL ballot because he needed 15,000 signatures compared to the Democrat’s and Republican’s 800. Image courtesy of the Univ. of Illinois and Josh Dill.
Independents denied participation, again
In the Democratic Primary earlier this year, party-backed Ann Callis beat two challengers, capturing 54% of the Primary vote. George Golling was runner-up, collecting 31%. Incumbent GOP Congressman Rodney Davis squeaked out a victory against Republican rising star and former Miss America Erika Harold, who herself captured 41% of the Primary vote. What was going to be a three-way race in the November General Election however, turned into a one-on-one match-up between the two entrenched establishment parties and their party-backed candidates.
Independent candidate Josh Dill failed to turn in enough ballot access petition signatures to be included on the ballot. Illustrating how rigged Illinois elections are, and why so many unpopular incumbents run unopposed so often, Democrat and Republican candidates for the same office need only collect 800 signatures compared to the 15,000 needed by independents like Dill. In fact, this year in Illinois, both the Green Party and the Constitution Party turned in over 25,000 signatures, more than enough to have their candidate slates included on the November ballot. But the Democrats kicked the Greens off and the Republicans kicked the Constitution Party off.
Commenting for IllinoisHomePage.net, the disqualified independent Josh Dill explained his frustration and the focus of his campaign, “The main message I was trying to get across is how unfair the ballot access laws are in Illinois.” His suggestion is that, “The signature requirements be the same for all parties.”
Democrat Ann Callis residency questions
Last week, the Chicago Sun Times published a story quoting election watchdogs who were raising questions about Democratic nominee Ann Callis’ residency. The group presented real estate forms showing just-retired Judge Callis had signed her name to documents showing her residence in Missouri. That would suggest she was a Missouri resident while simultaneously serving as an Illinois Judge. Even more implicating, a Callis’ campaign spokesperson confirmed that while Ann Callis has homes in both Missouri and Illinois, she also recently moved into another house in Edwardsville, Illinois specifically for her run for Congress.
Ann Callis’ Republican opponent, incumbent US Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), isn’t trying to legally challenge his Democratic opponent’s right to run for office in Illinois. Instead, his campaign is seemingly trying to taint her legitimacy and present her as an opportunist, taking advantage of the system by living in two states at once and even moving just before the campaign to run for Congress. And the documents presented show the Illinois judge affirming that her residence is in Missouri.
“Ann Callis is either being untruthful about her residence in Missouri or untruthful about her residence in Illinois,” Davis re-election campaign manager Tim Butler told the Sun Times, “These documents, attested to by a notary and signed by Callis, raise very legitimate questions as to whether she actually lived in Illinois while being an elected judge in our state. At the least, a judge and lawyer should know not to sign fraudulent documents.”
Democrat Callis responds
It didn’t take long for Ann Callis and a legion of progressive political groups to condemn the revelations about Callis’ residency as presented by the Chicago Sun Times and the Davis campaign. Just two days ago, Progress Illinois released an announcement from the Callis campaign rejecting all accusations about her true residency and ability to run for office and serve as a judge in Illinois.
‘Ann Callis, a former chief judge and Democratic candidate in the 13th congressional district race, is pushing back against challenges of the validity of her residency in the state,’ the announcement from the progressive organization began, ‘Callis is challenging US Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who has raised questions about her residency.’ The account also went on to publish excerpts from Ann Callis’ public reply two days ago.
“Let me be clear, I have always lived in Illinois,” Callis insists, “I raised my kids here, I own a house here, and I served my community here for over 18 years. As independent legal professionals have attested to, these documents have been mischaracterized and taken out of context. These documents do not provide any legal conclusion of residency in Missouri. In fact, Missouri law required me to sign documents with my husband, even though I was not living at the address on the forms.”
The Democratic Congressional challenger concluded her public statement saying she was moving on and putting the controversy behind her. “At the end of the day, all of these personal attacks do not help the people in our district who are struggling,” she explained, “From today forward I will put this ridiculous attack behind me and focus on how I can help people in the 13th district.” While the Democrats may be putting the controversy behind them, GOP Congressman Rodney Davis, independent voters, and grassroots watchdogs may not be so inclined.
For more information on independent Josh Dill and his Lincoln Liberty Party, visit LincolnLiberty.org. For more information on either the Republican or Democratic nominees, visit any Wall Street owned news outlet.
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