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Moreno to Face One Less 1st Ward Challenger: Mia Lopez Removed From Ballot

By Alisa Hauser | December 15, 2014 7:12pm
 (from l.) Mia Lopez, Ronda Locke, Andrew Hamilton and Anne Shaw are all running for 1st Ward alderman against incumbent Joe Moreno. Lopez recently was removed from the ballot.
(from l.) Mia Lopez, Ronda Locke, Andrew Hamilton and Anne Shaw are all running for 1st Ward alderman against incumbent Joe Moreno. Lopez recently was removed from the ballot.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WEST TOWN — One of four contenders vying for Ald. Joe Moreno's 1st ward post in February's municipal election has been removed from the ballot, after a "binder check" where each signature on Mia Lopez's nominating petition was challenged.

"Despite my efforts, I wasn't able to beat the petition challenge and remain on the ballot for the February 24th election," said Mia Lopez said in a Facebook update on Sunday.

Lopez said she collected around 600 signatures from registered voters, more than the required 473 to be put on the ballot — but it was not enough to account for several dozen signatures that were deemed invalid.

"I definitely joined the race late, and as a result I needed a better cushion to account for the signatures that were deemed not valid. I would need to go back and get an affidavit [sworn statement] for each signature, and it was too many signatures to go and do that," Lopez said.

Jay G. Ramirez, a resident of the 1300 block of West Erie Street, filed the objection to Lopez's nominating petition, according to Chicago Board of Elections records.

Read Ramirez's challenge against Lopez here.

Lopez, a director of operations for Legacy Charter School in the Lawndale neighborhood, previously served as a campaign manager for Moreno during his first reelection campaign in 2011.

Another 1st ward candidate, Andrew Hamilton, also had his nominating petition challenged by Ramirez

On Monday, Hamilton said he is confident he will remain on the ballot.

"I had more than enough signatures. The hearing officer recommended nomination, and we expect certification from the [Election] Board on Friday," Hamilton said.

The deadline for removing a candidate from the ballot is Thursday.

Ramirez, a board member of Moreno's 1st Ward First group, declined to comment on Lopez's removal from the ballot as a result of his objections. 

Ramirez directed media inquiries to his attorney, Michael Kasper.

Kasper, who was not immediately available, was the lead counsel for Mayor Rahm Emanuel in defending litigation challenging Emanuel’s residency status in connection with the 2011 mayoral election, according to Kasper's website.

Hamilton, who has a fundraiser scheduled for Wednesday at the Chip Inn, 832 N. Greenview Ave., said he did not let the fact he was being challenged "distract us from our continued pledge to listen to the concerns of the constituents and focus on how we will improve the 1st Ward."

In 2007 and 2011 races, the percentage of candidates who were successfully kicked off the ballot was about 28 to 29 percent, according to AlderTrack figures.

On Facebook, Lopez extended best wishes to the race's other four candidates, including Ronda Locke, and Anne Shaw, both East Village residents.

"While I was collecting signatures I met a lot of great people who want an Alderman who will do a better job of being responsive to their needs and a trustworthy advocate for all 1st Ward residents. The 1st Ward needs a change in leadership, I wish the candidates challenging Alderman Moreno the best of luck!" Lopez wrote.

Neither Locke nor Shaw, who has set up an election office at 1184 N. Milwaukee Ave., had their nominating petitions challenged. 

Locke, who formerly worked in Moreno's 1st ward office during the first two years of his term, was the third challenger to announce her candidacy against Moreno, following Shaw and Hamilton, who both kicked off their campaigns in August.

Moreno declined to comment on Lopez leaving the race.

Moreno, a longtime Wicker Park resident, was appointed to his role as alderman in 2010 and elected in 2011, when he garnered 74 percent of the vote.

Interest in meeting the candidates? Several community groups, including the East Village Association and the Wicker Park Committee, have 1st and 2nd Ward aldermanic debates scheduled for next month.  More details are expected to be announced soon.

1st Ward Alderman Incumbent and Candidate websites:

Alderman Joe Moreno (1st)

Ronda Locke

Anne Shaw

Andrew Hamilton

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