PILSEN — After an objection was filed challenging his candidacy, an aldermanic hopeful dropped out of the 25th Ward race last week.
Data scientist Troy Hernandez formally filed to withdraw from the race before the Christmas holiday, according to Chicago Board of Elections records. He was one of two 25th Ward candidates who faced objections.
Now that Hernandez has exited the race, five candidates — including veteran Ald. Danny Solis — remain in the running.
On his campaign website, Hernandez wrote that the petition signatures ultimately ended his campaign. Hernandez collected 438 provably valid signatures and about 100 "unprovably" valid signatures. The Board of Elections requires an aldermanic candidate to collect 473 signatures to land a ballot spot.
Hernandez initially submitted 1,027 signatures.
"The statistics suggest that I had more than enough signatures to get on the ballot," he wrote. "[But] the reality was that proving this fact was going to be logistically impossible."
On Dec. 17, Hernandez asked ward residents who had previously signed his petition sheets to contact him. He needed notarized affidavits signed by at least 35 people verifying that they previously signed his candidate petition by Dec. 21. Those voters also needed to be signers whose signatures weren't already disqualified by the Board of Elections hearing officer, the former candidate wrote.
Hernandez, who holds a Ph.D. in statistics from UIC, actively campaigned against the Pilsen Metal Shredder project. Hernandez also called for a study of the health effects of the existing metal shredder, Sims Metal Management.
Incumbent Solis, who has represented the 25th Ward for nearly two decades, has said he supports the shredder project.
After leaving the race, Hernandez wrote that he didn't think this would be the last time he was involved in politics.
"Even though this is a disappointing outcome, I’m still glad that I got involved in my local politics," he said. "By asserting my right to be present and involved I learned a lot about the the political process and the character of the various people participating in it."
At a hearing Monday, a Board of Elections hearing officer moved to dismiss the objection against the other challenged candidate, Roberto "Beto" Montano. The officer's recommendation is pending board approval, Montano confirmed Tuesday.
The objections against Hernandez and Montano were filed by West Loop resident Reyahd Kazmi, director of business advancement and governmental affairs at the National Youth Advocate Program. Kazmi previously served as chief of staff for former Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neely and lives in the 25th Ward.
If the remaining objection is successful, Montano, a financial advisor, would be kicked off the 25th Ward ballot.
In 2007 and 2011 races, the percentage of candidates who were successfully knocked off the ballot was about 28-29 percent, according to AlderTrack figures.
In addition to Solis and Montano, three other candidates remain in the running: science teacher Ed Hershey; community activist Jorge Mujica; and Byron Sigcho, lead instructor at UIC's Center for Literacy.
The ward includes parts of Pilsen, Chinatown, the West Loop, Little Italy and Heart of Chicago.
The election is Feb. 24.
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