Republican Whitney Wisnasky-Bettorf of O'Fallon, who tried but failed to get on a St. Clair County-wide ballot in November, has something in common with Democrat mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel of Chicago.
She also will have her Illinois election code grievance heard by the state's high court.
Wisnasky-Bettorf's case against Peggy Pierce is one of just 11 cases the Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear out of nearly 400. It's also at least the fourth election-related case the court has agreed to consider since March, according to an article in the Chicago Law Bulletin.
Pierce thwarted Wisnasky-Bettorf's candidacy for the St. Clair County Board of Review, a three-member elected panel that hears property tax assessment appeals, by objecting to a delay in filing election paperwork with the County Clerk's office.
Wisnasky-Bettorf did not run in the Feb. 2 primary election. She was slated to the position by the St. Clair County Republican Central Committee on March 25. The committee filed a resolution and notice of appointment with the Clerk's office on April 1, however it was challenged because of a requirement to file within three days.
The challenge was taken to the St. Clair County Electoral Board, composed of Democrats Bob Delaney, County Clerk; Charles Suarez, County Treasurer and Bob Haida, former State's Attorney and now a circuit judge. The board denied Wisnasky-Bettorf.
St. Clair County Associate Judge Andrew Gleeson, a Democrat, upheld the board.
Wisnasky-Bettorf, represented by Brian Funk of O'Fallon, took the case to the Fifth District Appellate Court.
On Aug. 19, the appellate court upheld Gleeson in a 2-1 decision. Justices James Wexstten and Bruce Stewart, Democrats, were in the majority. Justice Stephen Spomer, a Republican, dissented.
Arguments centered on section 7-61 of the Illinois Election Code, amended by the state legislature effective Jan. 1, 2010. The section allows political parties to fill vacancies in nominations that occur when no candidate's name is on the party's primary ballot and when no one is listed as a write-in candidate.
Spomer held that Wisnasky-Bettorf complied with filing requirements.
"An objection to the timeliness of the resolution does not provide a legal basis by which to challenge the petitioner's candidacy, and the decisions of the circuit court and the board should be reversed," Spomer wrote.
St. Clair County Republican Central Committee Chairman Jonathan McLean said he was confident that the Illinois Supreme Court would rule in favor of Wisnasky-Bettorf. He also said that the State Board of Elections has affirmed its position.
"The real losers here have been the people of St. Clair County who have had to endure another uncontested election," McLean said.
Every county-wide elected office in St. Clair County is occuupied by a Democrat.
Pierce is represented by Belleville attorneys Robert Sprague, who is St. Clair County Democratic Committee chairman, and Garrett Hoerner.
On Thursday, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of Emanuel in a residency challenge in his candidacy for mayor of Chicago. The high court agreed to hear the case after the First District Appellate Court on Monday struck down a Cook County Circuit Court decision and removed him from the ballot.
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