Tom Kacich: Would-be 13th District candidate's chances fading
It's not looking good for Josh Dill's effort to get on the ballot as a third-party candidate in the 13th Congressional District, which includes Champaign-Urbana.
Dill, a Springfield resident who is currently the only candidate of the newly formed Lincoln Liberty Party, wants to run as an alternative to incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and Democratic challenger Ann Callis of Edwardsville. The 13th District extends from Champaign-Urbana on the northeast to Edwardsville and Collinsville on the southwest.
But Dill, who as a new party candidate needed the signatures of at least 15,205 registered voters to get on the November ballot, got only 232 signatures.
Republican Andrew Carruthers of Edwardsville filed an objection to Dill's petitions of candidacy. Although Dill could have taken more votes from Callis than Davis — he has called for the legalization of marijuana, wants to commit more money to green energy and favors "Medicare for all" — Republicans were concerned about his party's name attracting the votes of Libertarians and members of the GOP.
A hearing examiner for the State Board of Elections is recommending to the board that Dill be bounced from the ballot.
The board is scheduled to take up the issue on Aug. 22, and it seems a foregone conclusion that Dill will lose because he didn't get enough signatures.
Dill asked hearing examiner David Herman to dismiss the objections to his petitions on constitutional grounds, contending that his rights to free speech and equal protection were violated by the state requirements.
But Herman noted that the board of elections cannot rule on constitutional issues.
"As a creature of statute, the Board possesses only those powers conferred upon it by law. Any power or authority it exercises must find its source within the law pursuant to which it was created," wrote Herman.
The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that "election boards are not entitled to assess the constitutionality of Election Code requirements when considering objections to nominating papers ... Administrative agencies have no authority to declare statutes unconstitutional or even to question their validity."
Dill can challenge any board of elections ruling in court, but he's up against the clock.
The general election ballot is supposed to be certified on Aug. 22 — the same day the board is scheduled to rule on his candidacy.
Big disparity in 15th District
Eric Thorsland's second quarter campaign disclosure report finally has been posted on the Federal Election Commission web site. Thorsland sent his handwritten report to the FEC by mail and those interested had to wait for the FEC staff to scan it and put it online.
If there was a slaughter rule in political fundraising, Thorsland's tiny campaign fund would be the recipient. He's raised less than one-tenth of 1 percent of his opponent's sum.
The rural Mahomet Democrat, who is challenging U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville in the heavily Republican 15th Congressional District, reported about $1,554 on hand on June 30.
Thorsland has raised a total of $10,976 in his campaign, of which about $9,100 has come from individuals. He has received $1,650 from Democratic Party groups and has no money from political action groups. His largest contributors are the Effingham and Fayette County Democratic parties, each of which has given him $500.
Then there's Shimkus. The nine-term Republican had $1.14 million in his campaign fund.
Of the $1.58 million that the Shimkus campaign fund has received in this election cycle, $1.35 million has come from political action committees. That means that 85 percent of all the campaign funds he's collected has come from groups representing corporations, associations, lobbyists and other interest groups.
He's received about $225,000 from individuals.
Shimkus' top donors (each of which has given his campaign $10,000 or more) include: Blue Cross Blue Shield, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, The American Interventional Pain Physicians, the Automotive Free International Trade PAC, the Carpenters & Joiners Union, Deere and Co., Dow Chemical, Exelon, Exxon, Koch Industries, Sen. Mark Kirk's Lincoln PAC, the National Association of Chemical Distributors, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the USAA financial service company.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, will speak from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14 to the Ford County Young Republicans group in Gibson City. He'll be at a Young Republicans After Hours event at DG Sullivan's, 109 W. 8th St. For more information, go to fordcountyrepublicans.com. ... U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, will appear before Active Senior Republicans of Champaign County at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Champaign Public Library. His topic: "A Report from our Congressman in Washington." ... Davis' opponent in the 13th Congressional District, former Madison County Judge Ann Callis, has been endorsed by the magazine Veterans' Vision. The group praised her work to create the Madison County Veterans' Treatment Court. "Ann Callis' long record on behalf of veterans distinguished her from her opponent," said M. Benjamin Peoples of Veterans' Vision.
Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette editor and columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 217-351-5221 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.