Election officials will need to process the paperwork, but barring any challenges, here’s who could appear on the Feb. 22 ballot:
Jill R. Bush, associate director of the Loretto Hospital Foundation
Sheneather “Shey” Butler, a former city employee who now runs a family hair and makeup salon
Mary Russell Gardner, secretary of the Cook County Forest Preserve District Board
Deborah L. Graham
C.B. Johnson, CEO of Campaign for a Drug Free Westside
Thomas E. Simmons, retired city employee and community activist
Bernard Cobbins Jr.
Marshall E. Hatch Sr. of West Garfield Park’s New Pilgrim Church (who ran in 2003 and garnered 19 percent of the vote)
Oddis “O.J.” Johnson
Beverly D. Rogers, a retired Chicago Police Department officer
Graham, the incumbent whom Mayor Daley appointed in March to replace Ike Carothers after he was convicted on corruption charges, on Saturday formally kicked off her campaign for a full term on the Chicago City Council, telling volunteers and local officials that she has “come home” to restore the fight in the 29th Ward.
Before a crowd of nearly 70 people, Graham said she decided to seek election to help relieve the pain in her native West side neighborhood, a community in need of better jobs, better schools, better public safety and fewer foreclosures.
Admitting the contest would be a challenge, Graham, who has represented the ward just eight months, added: “I’m standing with you to fight for what we want. Together we can work together to create the environment we want.”
Several Democratic Party heavyweights attended Saturday’s kick-off to show their support for the former 78th District state representative, including state Sen. Don Harmon, who represents parts of Oak Park and Austin; Rep. Camille Lilly, who replaced Graham earlier this year in the Illinois General Assembly; Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Barbara McGowan; and Robin Kelly, who served in the Illinois House with Graham and ran unsuccessfully this fall for state treasurer.
Graham represented the 78th District, which includes some of the west suburbs and parts of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, in Springfield for four terms before replacing Carothers. He resigned the 29th Ward post in February after pleading guilty to bribery and tax charges. He’s serving a 28-month sentence in a federal prison in South Dakota.
Graham said she’s not running away from “the idea that I’ve been associated with Carothers. He helped me break into politics. I’m a different person (from Carothers).”
Graham noted that she would not endorse anyone in Chicago’s mayoral race; 20 candidates filed by Monday’s deadline to replace the retiring Mayor Daley.
Other candidates already kicked off their campaigns, including Simmons and Butler. Bush said she plans to officially start her campaign at 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at her headquarters, 5835 W. Madison St.
Efforts to reach the other candidates for comment were unsuccessful.
The deadline for filing objections to the 13 candidates’ petitions is Nov. 30, and the names of the candidates will be certified on Dec. 23. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes Feb. 22, a runoff between the highest and second-highest vote getters will be held April 5.