Zehra Quadri and Majid Mustafa filed petitions yesterday to become Alderman of the 50th Ward. They join Andrew Rowlas and Debra Silverstein as potential candidates for alderman.
To secure a place on the ballot, all four must survive challenges to their nominating petitions. Such challenges can be filed by the candidates themselves or private citizens acting on their own or, as is common, acting as surrogates for candidates who prefer not to be seen as blocking opponents before they can appeal to the voters.
Ira Piltz did not file any nominating petitions although he had announced that he would run. I have heard that there was concern that his running would split the Orthodox vote and result in a non-jewish alderman for the ward. Such an event has not occurred more than 70 years. Although the Jewish community is only about 30% of the ward, it accounts for approximately half the ward’s voters.
Objections to nominating petitions are due on Monday, December 3. If no challenges are filed to a candidate’s petitions, and the petitions are found to satisfy all legal requirements, that candidate’s name will be placed on the ballot for the February election.
Defending against petition challenges is time-consuming and expensive, requiring the challenged candidate to pay attorneys fees for representation before the Chicago Board of Elections. Although challenged candidates can defend themselves, it’s not a good idea, since they are up against skillful, well-paid attorneys who are generally in the employ of experienced, well-funded campaigns. This tactic depletes the already scant funds of those who challenge incumbents, and is yet another reason why the same people keep getting reelected, no matter how poor the job they do.
I’ll have more to say about each candidate as we move through this week.