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.