Circuit clerk primary a go; appeal ruled out
CHAMPAIGN — There will definitely be a Republican Party primary for the office of Champaign County circuit clerk.
Champaign attorney Deborah Frank Feinen said Wednesday that her client, Steve Frank — who is also her father — will not appeal a decision by the Champaign County Electoral Board that keeps circuit clerk candidate Stephanie Holderfield on the March 20 primary election ballot.
Steve Frank had contended that Holderfield was not a qualified Republican candidate because she had signed a candidate petition last fall for Ben Carlson, who is running as a Democrat for county auditor.
But the electoral board — State's Attorney Julia Rietz, County Clerk Gordy Hulten and Sandy Romans, a representative of Circuit Clerk Linda Frank — wrote that Holderfield is recognized as a Republican because she signed her own nominating petition on Sept. 11, as well as petitions for other local Republican candidates. That was before she signed Carlson's petition.
"The board does not recognize Holderfield's subsequent statement of affiliation with the Democratic Party in Carlson's nominating petition," the board wrote in an opinion issued Tuesday. "On the record before the board, striking Holderfield's nominating petitions and statement of candidacy would be a draconian sanction that would unduly frustrate the rights of the public to engage in the political process and to endorse and nominate the candidate of their choice."
Feinen said Wednesday she would not move to appeal the electoral board's decision to the courts.
"The board found that Ms. Holderfield violated the statute but declined to remove her from the ballot as a remedy," Feinen wrote in an email. "Although my position is that the appellate case sets the standard and that removal is the remedy for this violation, we are not going to pursue it further."
The decision means that Holderfield will face Rick Winkel, a former state legislator, in the Republican primary for circuit court clerk. The current circuit clerk, Linda Frank — the mother of Feinen and the former wife of Steve Frank — is not running for re-election.