LINCOLN PARK — The race to be the next alderman of the 43rd Ward is down to four official candidates.
Steve McClellan, 32, was knocked off the ballot Monday during an Election Board hearing.
Andy Challenger, who was backed by the 43rd Ward Republicans, did not have enough signatures and withdrew his petition, according to Chris Cleveland, the 43rd Ward GOP committeeman.
McClellan's signatures were challenged by Joseph DeBella Jr., and on Monday a hearing officer sustained the objection, finding that McClellan didn't have enough signatures.
McClellan filed as a write-in candidate and said he had no plans to stop campaigning.
The first-time candidate, who lives in Old Town, said he personally gathered all 512 signatures to run and argued they were genuine.
Candidates are required to file 473 signatures to run.
McClellan said he personally gathered signatures because he wanted to ensure that they were genuine.
"I wanted to make sure I spoke with every person who signed my petition sheet," he said. "These were people I knew. There were people who were my neighbors and people whose signatures I knew were genuine."
Now that he is off the ballot and running as a write-in candidate, McClellan said he would continue knocking on doors and getting his message heard.
McClellan, who grew up on the South Side and attended LaSalle Language Academy, where his mother was a teacher, said he regretted not building a larger staff and gathering more signatures.
"Ten percent of me wishes I just stuck the petition in people's face and said sign, sign, sign, but at the end of the day I know I did it the right way," he said. "I wanted these people to actually meet the candidate."
McClellan, who runs a small video production company and previously worked at the Board of Trade, said he planned to run again if he was unsuccessful.
"I know the likelihood of running your first time is slim to none to win, but I thought to myself, name recognition and getting your feet wet," he said.
The remaining candidates are incumbent Ald. Michele Smith, Jen Kramer, Caroline Vickrey and Jerry Quandt.
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