By Jim Hagerty
A Sangamon County judge, on Thursday, threw out a GOP challenge to have the name of Libertarian candidate for Illinois governor removed from the Nov. 4 ballot.
Chad Grimm, a fitness club manager from Peoria, announced his candidacy in June. The Republican Party later challenged thousands of voter signatures Grimm turned into the State Board of Elections, claiming they were not legible. The board ruled against the to keep keep Grimm’s name on the ballot last month. The ruling was challenged in court by GOP attorney John Fogarty.
Judge Patrick Kelley ruled this morning that none of the 25,000 signatures Grimm submitted were “clearly erroneous.” Kelley also tossed a claim that voters who signed the petition did not live addresses they listed on the petition. That means Grimm’s name will be alongside those of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), and Chicago billionaire Bruce Rauner, who is running as a Republican.
“After all the long, hard work, I am exited the distractions are over and that Illinois has the ability to vote for a candidate that wishes to put this kind of political corruption to rest, ” Grimm said.
The state board also ruled last month to remove the names of Constitution, Green and independent gubernatorial candidates because the parties failed to gather enough signatures.
Grimm, 33, wants to legalize marijuana in Illinois and release prisoners currently behind bars for non-violent offenses, such as gun possession various drug crimes.
According to a recent poll, 48 percent of Illinois voters support Quinn, while 37 percent are backing Rauner. The 5 percent who support Grimm were expected to shift to Rauner had Republicans been successful in ousting Grimm from the ballot. Eight percent of voters were undecided, the poll showed.
Republican spokesman Andrew Welhouse said in a statement Thursday the part would “continue to work in every part of Illinois to elect Bruce Rauner and Republicans up and down the ticket.”