Tio Hardiman’s quixotic campaign for governor has run into a snag that could ultimately jeopardize his ability to stay on the ballot in the March primary for governor.
Hardiman, the former CeaseFire director who is seeking to challenge Gov. Pat Quinn in the March Democratic primary, is awaiting a ruling next week over whether his running mate, attorney Brunell Donald, submitted petitions containing her correct address.
The Illinois State Board of Elections has pushed the ruling back until next week, saying the board wanted more time to review the case. It was previously expected to rule earlier this week.
Hardiman told Ward Room his campaign expects to win the residency challenge and move onward to the March primary.
“It’s really the same situation Deborah Mell was in, and she won the challenge,” Hardiman said. “I’m confident we’ll be victorious when the board makes its ruling.”
During her 2009 race for representative in Illinois 40th House District, candidate Joe Laiacona challenged Mell’s residency, claiming she wasn't ballot-eligible because her candidacy statement included false information. Mell survived the challenge.
The Hardiman and Brunell case is said to be especially difficult as this year is the first time candidates for governor were required to pick their candidates for lieutenant governor. As a result, the status of Brunell’s residency could determine the viability of Hardiman’s campaign.
Brunell worked as Assistant State’s Attorney for the State of Illinois and later joined the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender before starting her own practice. She has acknowledged that she recently moved but failed to change her voter registration.
Hardiman announced last year he would challenge Quinn, move that left him as the sole primary challenger once fellow candidate Bill Daley dropped out of the race in September. Hardiman is running a grassroots campaign, saying the state needs an alternative to machine politics that better represents working class people.
Hardiman and Quinn traded challenges over each other’s petition signatures in December, before each candidate survived their challenges. That month, Hardiman also won a victory of sorts when he was placed first on the primary ballot above Quinn.
If anything, Hardiman feels he hasn't been aggressive enough in playing tit-for-tat with the Quinn campaign when it comes to legal challenges.
“I only have one regret—I wish I would have challenged [Quinn running mate Paul] Vallas’ residency as well,” Hardiman said. “Vallas has been out of Illinois for almost 10 years now. I don’t think we were quick enough to challenge his legitimacy to vote here in Illinois.”