EDISON PARK — A firefighter running to represent the 41st Ward in the City Council will have to overcome a challenge to his nominating petitions filed by a businessman with ties to the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce to remain on the ballot.
Anthony Napolitano, who lives in Edison Park with his wife and three children, did not collect at least 473 valid signatures from registered voters in the 41st Ward, which includes O'Hare, Norwood Park, Edgebrook and Edison Park, according to a challenge filed by Joseph McGovern, an Edison Park resident who works at an investment bank.
Napolitano said he was not surprised by the challenge, which he said was a evidence of the threat his candidacy poses to Ald. Mary O'Connor's (41st) bid for re-election.
"This is just part of the election," said Napolitano, adding that he collected approximately 1,300 signatures. "We knew it was coming, and we're prepared to defend our petitions."
Heather Cherone explains the petition challenge process:
Joe Lomanto, the owner of two hardware stores, does not face a challenge to his petitions.
James P. Nally, McGovern's attorney, said McGovern filed the challenge because it appears that Napolitano did not collect the required number of signatures.
Nally said McGovern would not answer questions from DNAinfo Chicago about the petition challenge, which will be decided by a hearing officer selected by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
McGovern is married to Rita Staunton McGovern, the former executive director of the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce.
A longtime Edison Park resident, O'Connor, who owns two businesses, O'Connor's Market and Deli and Unforgettable Edibles catering, was president of the Edison Park chamber before becoming alderman in 2011.
O'Connor's spokesman Tim Nazanin declined to say whether McGovern challenged Napolitano's petitions on O'Connor's behalf.
"Those who are seeking to make our laws have to follow them and Mr. Napolitano clearly did not," O'Connor said in a statement provided by her spokesman.
O'Connor will appear first on the ballot, followed by Lomanto and finally Napolitano, if he successfully defends his petitions.
O'Connor, Lomanto and Napolitano filed simultaneously at 9 a.m. Nov. 17, the first day election officials accepted petitions signed by at least 473 registered 41th Ward voters. That meant election officials conducted a lottery — using pill bottles — to determine who would get the coveted top spot.
In races where no candidate earns 50 percent of the votes cast, a runoff between the top two candidates will take place April 7.
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