Veteran Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert will not face a March primary challenge in the newly drawn west and south suburban 11th Congressional District, the Illinois State Board of Elections ruled today.
The board’s decision to toss John “Jack” Cunningham off the Republican primary congressional ballot represented an embarrassment --- as Kane County clerk, he's the county’s chief election official.
A state hearing officer ruled that of 1,265 signatures filed on Cunningham’s candidacy petitions, only 526 were valid. A total of 600 were needed to get on the March 20 GOP primary ballot. The hearing officer rejected hundreds of signatures gathered by a petition passer paid to gather names but who listed his home at an address that didn’t exist.
The elections board also previously had rejected Cunningham’s attempt to remove Biggert from the ballot. And the board today removed a third, little-known GOP candidate, Diane Harris of Joliet.
Biggert opted to run in the new 11th District after Democrats scattered portions of her current 13th District into parts of six different congressional districts.
Her Hinsdale residence was drawn into a new Democratic-leaning 5th Congressional District, which also is home to Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of Chicago. The new 5th District stretches from the Chicago lakefront to O’Hare International Airport, and moves south through Elmhurst, Oak Brook and Hinsdale.
The new 11th District includes all or parts of Aurora, Naperville, Woodridge, Bolingbrook and Joliet.
Recently filed fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission show Biggert had more than $1.05 million in her campaign bank account to start the year after raising $263,029 in the last three months of 2011.
Three Democrats are seeking the primary nomination in the 11th District, including former U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville, who lost a re-election bid to Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Winfield in 2010.
Foster reported to the FEC that he began the year with $750,697 in cash available and had raised $281,138 in the final three months of 2011.
Also in the Democratic race are Juan Thomas and Jim Hickey. Thomas, who previously served as Aurora Township clerk, raised $42,143 for the final quarter of last year and began 2012 with $37,372 in his campaign bank account, reports showed.
An FEC report for Hickey, the president of the Orland Fire Protection District, was not available.