The field of candidates in the race for Chicago mayor whittled down Thursday, as four candidates were removed from the ballot.
Conrein Hykes Clark, Sandra Mallory and Richard Mayers will not be on the ballot for the mayoral race, the Chicago Board of Elections ruled.
All three were relatively unknown in the large group of mayoral hopefuls, and all were struck from the ballot based on flaws with their petitions - either filing less than the 12,500-signature requirement or improperly submitting their paperwork.
Ja'Mal Green also filed Thursday to withdraw his name from the ballot and instead run as a write-in candidate, a spokesman for the board of elections said. As of Friday, he had not made an official announcement on his status in the race.
In total, that brings the number of mayoral candidates on the February ballot from 21 to now 17. That number could continue to drop, as five other candidates work their way through the petition challenge process.
The campaigns of both Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and perennial candidate Willie Wilson filed separate objections to the signatures of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown. Hearings for both challenges were scheduled to take place Saturday, according to the board of elections' website.
Catherine Brown D'Tycoon faces two challenges as well, one from Preckwinkle, with hearings to take place the morning of Jan. 2, election officials said.
Roger Washington did not show up for two hearings on the challenge to his petitions, according to a board of elections spokesman, with a recommendation from the hearing officer submitted to the full board for a final vote.
It was not immediately clear what that recommendation was, though the seemingly likely outcome is that the objection would be sustained - and Washington removed from the ballot - by default, due to his absence.
Wilson's campaign also challenged the signatures submitted by Neal Sáles-Griffin, though a hearing on the objection has not been scheduled, per the board's website.
State Rep. La Shawn Ford claimed Thursday that he had survived a challenge to his petitions by Wilson, saying in a statement that the hearing officer in his case had ruled to toss out the objection. That ruling had not been finalized by the full board of elections, however, a spokesman for the board clarified, and the objection remained outstanding until that time.
In total, Wilson challenged the petitions of five candidates, all African-American and male, like Wilson himself, with the exception of Brown.
Four other candidates survived challenges to their respective petitions: Lori Lightfoot, Susana Mendoza, Bill Daley and Garry McCarthy. All four will be on the Feb. 26 ballot after the objections to their signatures were withdrawn.
Preckwinkle unsuccessfully challenged the petitions of Mendoza, current Illinois comptroller, and Lightfoot, an attorney and the former President of the Chicago Police Board. Theirs were two of the five total objections Preckwinkle's campaign filed, all against women of color.
Attorney Jerry Joyce challenged the petitions of Bill Daley - son of a former mayor and brother of another, while former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas unsuccessfully objected to the petitions of McCarthy, the former Chicago Police superintendent.
Eight candidates' petition signatures were filed without being challenged: Preckwinkle, Wilson, Joyce, Vallas, Gery Chico, Amara Enyia, Bob Fioretti and John Kozlar.
The next meeting of the Chicago Board of Elections was scheduled to take place on Jan. 2, at which point the full board can vote on recommendations made by hearing officers.
In some cases, objections could potentially be appealed in the courts and extend as late as February, with the first election scheduled for Feb. 26.