EDWARDSVILLE — There will a three-way race for congressman in the 13th Congressional District after all.
An objection to the independent candidacy of Edwardsville businessman John Hartman has been dropped and his name will appear on the general election ballot, along with Democrat David Gill of Bloomington and Republican Rodney Davis of Taylorville.
The 13th District arcs from Champaign-Urbana on the northeast to Edwardsville and Collinsville on the southwest. It includes 14 counties and also takes in Springfield and Decatur, along with small sections of Bloomington and Normal.
Hartman, who needed at least 5,000 petition signatures to get his name on the ballot as an independent, was found by the State Board of Elections to have 5,793 valid signatures. Objectors to his candidacy, who were represented by John Fogarty, a Chicago lawyer and frequent attorney for Republican candidates, dropped their objections on Wednesday.
"They never did have anything. I had far over the amount. They just were fishing around for something because you never know what you might find, I guess," said Hartman, 56, the chief financial officer for DNA Polymerase Technology Inc. in St. Louis.
He estimated that he had spent at least $1,000 to hire a lawyer and fight the objectors.
"I thought about trying to maneuver it myself. But the whole process of learning it on short notice — it is a kind of expedited process — I thought that this is just too important to take a chance making a procedural slip-up," Hartman explained.
The objection also kept him from campaigning, he said.
"If not doing this I would have been shooting videos, updating my website, going door to door," he said. "It's like the whole thing has been put on hold because if I don't survive this objection everything else is gone."
Hartman said he is still optimistic about his campaign, even though Davis and Gill have suggested raising more than a million dollars each to run in the new 13th District.
"I think that this is viable for me, even if they are going to spend untold multiples of what I will spend," he said. "This is kind of educational for people, I think, to see what an independent has to deal with. I think it's worth my time to put this in the media. I wish we had a lot more independents running."
Hartman said he plans to update his website (http://www.hartman2012.com) with position statements on issues.
"I've kind of done an experimental one as if me and the listener were walking down the sidewalk together, talking about issues," Hartman said. "I'm going to shoot a series of those and they will be very content-heavy. That's why I'm running. We need to do something about health care and something about the environment and something about the budget deficit, et cetera. I'm going to be saying what I think we need to do about those issues."