NEAR WEST SIDE — It's official: 27th Ward voters will choose from two candidates this February.
In a decision Monday, the Chicago Board of Elections ruled that candidate Gabe Beukinga's name should appear on the ballot. Beukinga, 31, will now square off against veteran Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. in the Feb. 24 election.
Burnett, 51, is seeking his sixth term.
Two weeks ago, hearing officer Barbara Goodman recommended Beukinga's name be kept on the ballot and the objection against him be thrown out. The board approved Goodman's recommendation.
Beukinga said Monday night that he was happy the lengthy objection case — "a waste of time and money"—- was finally over. Burnett "now has to run on his record, versus unopposed," Beukinga said.
"Despite Burnett's attempt to take away the 27th Ward residents' right to vote, I'm happy to report I was able to fight off Burnett's baseless accusations and give my community the right to participate in democracy," the first-time candidate said.
Burnett's campaign declined to comment Monday.
The objection challenging Beukinga's petitions, filed by East Garfield Park resident Vashon Briscoe and Garfield Park resident Priscilla Yates, argued that the petitions showed "a pattern of fraud," contained forged signatures and were "roundtabled," alleging that the same people were signing the petition sheets multiple times.
More than a dozen Beukinga supporters, including former state Sen. Rickey Hendon, were subpoenaed in the challenge case.
The diverse 27th Ward includes parts of the West Loop, Greektown, Garfield Park, the Near North Side, Old Town, West Humboldt Park, West Town, the Medical District and Goose Island neighborhoods.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: