County clerk staying on panel set to rule on county board candidacies

County clerk staying on panel set to rule on county board candidacies

URBANA — Republican Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten will not recuse himself from a board that will hear objections to three county board candidacies.

That was the only matter decided Wednesday at a county electoral board meeting about the candidacies of Republican District 6 hopeful P.J. Trautman and Democrats Chris Stohr and Charles Young, running in District 10 and 6, respectively.

Urbana attorney Ruth Wyman, representing the Democratic candidates and the Trautman objector, argued that Hulten should step aside because he endorsed Trautman.

Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen, serving as an attorney arguing on behalf of Trautman, told the board that case law says allegations of political bias are not enough to prompt substitution of a board member. And the three-person board unanimously agreed.

Hulten, speaking with News-Gazette Media after the hearing, said candidates can appeal the electoral board’s ruling to the circuit court.

The board will reconvene soon to hear an issue it brought up: whether the objections were filed on time. If the board rules they were, then attorneys will argue the merits of the cases.

Hulten chaired the electoral board Wednesday alongside Republican Circuit Clerk Katie Blakeman and First Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Ziegler, who was filling in for Democratic State’s Attorney Julia Rietz.

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