Holderfield petitions challenged

Holderfield petitions challenged

URBANA — Republican circuit clerk candidate Stephanie Holderfield could be knocked off the Republican Party primary election ballot if a petition challenge is successful.

If Holderfield is removed from the March 20, 2012, primary election ballot, the chief beneficiary will be former state Sen. Rick Winkel, the only other Republican candidate for circuit clerk.

A three-member county electoral board, made up of County Clerk Gordy Hulten, State's Attorney Julia Rietz and current Circuit Clerk Linda Frank, will determine the fate of Holderfield's candidacy. No date for a hearing on the objection to Holderfield's candidate petitions has been set, said Hulten, who is chair of the electoral board.

The challenge to Holderfield's candidate petitions was filed Monday by Fisher attorney Steve Frank, who is Linda Frank's ex-husband. Linda Frank also has endorsed Winkel for election as her successor.

Linda Frank said Tuesday that she would not serve on the board. "I will have someone else from my office serve for me," she said.

In his objection to Holderfield's appearance on the Champaign County ballot, Steve Frank charges that Holderfield signed a candidate petition for Ben Carlson, a Champaign Democrat running for county auditor. On the same page that her signature for Carlson appeared, a statement reads "that to the best of my knowledge and belief the persons so signing were at the time of signing the petition qualified voters of the Democratic Party ..."

Holderfield also signed her own petition for candidacy, on which the following statement appears: "We, the undersigned, members of and affiliated with the Republican Party and qualified primary voters of the Republican Party ..."

"And thus," says Steve Frank's objection, "the signing of both Republican and Democratic nominating petitions invalidates Respondent's Nominating Petitions."

Signing both party's nomination petitions is a violation of state law, Steve Frank said, because a "qualified primary elector" may not sign petitions for or be a candidate in the primary of more than one party.

Holderfield, a member of the county board, said Tuesday morning that she would contest Steve Frank's objections.

"I fully intend to be on that ballot on March 20," she said.

She said she is a longtime friend of Carlson's and signed his petition, then asked him to remove her name.

"I had asked him to cross my name off. He evidently got sidetracked and didn't get it done," Holderfield said.

Ironically, in a drawing held Tuesday morning at the county clerk's office, Holderfield's name was selected to appear ahead of Winkel's on the Republican primary election ballot for circuit clerk.

Three Democrats also are seeking the office. Evelyn Underwood's name will appear first on the Democratic Party ballot, followed by Lori Hansen and Barbara Wysocki.


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wayward wrote on December 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I'm a little curious how the challengers caught the signature on a petition for a Democratic candidate running for a different office.  Were they extremely diligent or did someone else tip them off?  That said, it does seem like someone running for circuit clerk should probably understand the system well enough to know better than to sign a petition for a candidate from another party.

asparagus wrote on December 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm

As long as her name gets removed from the other petition this sounds like a lot BS. Maybe the letter of the law was dinged but the spirit was certainly not harmed.


wayward wrote on December 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

But she's going for circuit clerk, where the ability to understand the "letter of the law" is kind of important.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on December 14, 2011 at 4:12 am
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I dislike the law, and the huge advantage it provides to incumbents and parties. But this is not a case of one random person (unwittingly) signing multiple petitions for multiple parties. This is not a case of voter repression -- challenging the validity of signatures, which

  1. presumes the candidate is lying,
  2. is nearly impossible to prove, and
  3. circumvents the will of the voter


No, if the candidate herself makes this blunder -- that's either stupid or careless. 



asparagus wrote on December 14, 2011 at 7:12 am

I still believe that in the larger scheme of things this is a lot to do about nothing.  I see cops speeding all the time.  Should they be found unfit for duty?  University employees (practically en masse) use campus computers for private business.  Should they be ineligible to be employed?  The letter of the law needs to be interpreted according to context.  This incident does not rise to the level of seriousness. Sure she should admit her mistake (she did) correct it (she did) and we should all move on.  Let the voters take into consideration her actions when they vote.  If ill intent could be proven then that would be another issue.  But in this case, I can't see that.

johnny wrote on December 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

This stinks to high heaven.  If Holderfield is removed from the ballot, the true beneficiary will be the Democratic nominee for County Clerk.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on December 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm
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No. The beneficiary will be Rick Winkel.

johnny wrote on December 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm

That's cute.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on December 14, 2011 at 4:12 am
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... and it's Circuit Clerk.

johnny wrote on December 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Winkel isn't going to win either way.  I'm saying this stands to hurt the rest of the Republican ticket, too, if this is how they operate.

wayward wrote on December 14, 2011 at 8:12 am

Exactly.  Holderfield is the weaker of the two candidates, and having her knocked off the ballot allows Winkel to conserve his resources to fight whoever comes out of the Democratic primary for circuit clerk.

nedavis wrote on December 14, 2011 at 8:12 am

I think that you all miss the bigger part of the picture.  This is not about Holderfield vs. Winkel.  It is Holderfield vs. Frank.  If Ms. Frank had run against Ms. Holderfield, this would be a much more even contest, with some possibility of Ms. Frank losing.  Seeing this, Ms. Frank got her good friend, Mr. Winkel, to run in her place.  Now, she has her ex-husband running interference for her on the ballot challenge.  This is a cat-fight, and make no mistake.  Ms. Frank does not like to lose, so she's bringing in more claws than Ms. Holderfield.  Sheesh!  Why can't we all just get along?

wayward wrote on December 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

Frank and Holderfield may indeed not like each other; internal party stuff can get nastier than the usual contests between parties.  I'm just pointing out that Holderfield getting knocked off the ballot benefits Winkel more than the Democrats.

johnny wrote on December 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm

In the extreme short term, yes.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on December 14, 2011 at 11:12 am
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Conspiracy theories are fun.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Especially for those who spread them.  The internal fight will weaken which ever one runs in the general election.  Independents will view it differently than members of both parties.  It does smack of "back room politics" since Mr. Frank has challenged other candidates in favor of his former, and present partners.  Better stay on his good side because he is an attorney.