As the nation watches the Iowa caucuses, Republican Mitt Romney became the first in Illinois to file a full slate of candidates for the March 20 primary.
First in line for the 8 a.m. filing was state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Romney’s Illinois campaign chairman. Rutherford was the only representative of a major presidential candidate present when the doors opened.
The move secured the first-on-the-ballot position for Romney and his 108 convention delegates and alternate delegate from 18 newly drawn congressional districts across the state, election officials said.
Rutherford bound together the paperwork for the slate with leather boot straps, a tradition he has used for his own campaigns. To run in the presidential preference race in Illinois, a candidate needs a minimum of 3,000 signatures on petitions, but Romney’s petitions have the maximum 5,000 signatures, Rutherford said.
After seeing some candidates fail to get on the ballot in Virginia, Rutherford said, each signature for Romney and for the delegates and alternates were vetted to make sure they all lived in the proper districts.
Unlike other long lines that occur when state legislators, judges or statewide officials file to get on the ballot, today’s line was tiny. Only two people were there when the doors opened, reflecting the notion that ballot position is more important in local races than high-profile national races.
Also in line early was Jeremy Iloulian, a 20-year-old George Washington University junior who filed to be a Democratic delegate for President Barack Obama. Iloulian left his Highland Park home by 4 a.m. and drove to Springfield with his mother. He also filed paperwork for his college roommate Josh Brown, 22, of Riverwoods, who is also running to be an Obama delegate.
Under Democratic rules, the presidential candidate, in this case Obama, will get to choose the delegate candidates who will appear on the ballot, said Ken Menzel, deputy general counsel.
Iloulian acknowledged he may face long odds, but he said he didn’t want to look back 10 years from now and wish he had filed but didn’t.
“It’s a small chance we’ll get it,” he said, adding: “If we do everything we possibly can to get the best chance, then we know we did our best, and maybe next time.”
Democrats elect 123 delegates, and Republican presidential candidates elect 54 delegates and 54 alternates.Copyright © 2015, CT Now