An hour before Mike Madigan operatives were to testify on the validity of nominating petition signatures for Terrence Goggin, Goggin officially withdrew his candidacy.
“The Chicago Republican Party scored a significant victory over the Madigan organization today,” said Chris Cleveland, vice chairman of the Chicago GOP.
A hearing was set to take place Thursday afternoon at the Chicago Board of Elections over alleged fraudulent signatures for Goggin, who is widely understood to be handpicked Rebpulican challenger to Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan in Illinois’ 22nd District.
The hearing was the result of efforts by the Chicago GOP, who won a victory Sunday when a Board of Elections hearing officer granted its motion to subpoena Madigan petition circulators. The Chicago GOP had filed a challenge to the petitions, alleging a large number of signatures were fake.
Cleveland claims the Goggin-Madigan contest seems fraudulent. Very few people have ever seen Goggin, despite the fact that this is the fourth time he’s run against Madigan. There are no known photographs of the candidate and he doesn't seem to be raising any money, holding any campaign events or talking to the press.
It all fits a pattern Madigan’s challengers have followed year after year. In 2010, it was Patrick John Ryan, a 30-year-old Southwest-sider who filed as a Republican despite a history of voting Democratic. And who also didn't set up a political committee, respond to newspaper questionnaires or raise any money.
Before that, in 2006 and 2008, it was the unknown Robert P. Famiglietti. Before that? Terrence Goggin.
For Goggin’s attempt this time around, however, none of his petition circulators have been seen in public. Worse, nearly every sheet of the petition submitted on his behalf showed entire families with the same handwriting, indicating that one person may have fraudulently signed for other members of the household, according to the Chicago GOP.
And one step further, Cleveland claims similar signatures were discovered on voter registrations, which could indicate a larger issue, and is something the Chicago GOP intends to pursue.
“For today we’re just happy that we in the Chicago Republican Party have removed this fake candidate from the ballot and that we can move forward with a real candidate in the future,” Cleveland said.
The group is searching for eligible opponents, but said some potential candidates were “too afraid” to run.
“We have spoken to any number of people who said that they would like to be a candidate, but they’re afraid,” Cleveland said. “We’re saying you don’t need to be afraid anymore.”