As the Feb. 24 aldermanic election inches closer, one candidate has been dropped and several others have withdrawn from races in two Austin wards.
In the 37th Ward, long held by Ald. Emma Mitts, former candidate Otis Percy was removed for filing incorrect papers with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. The paperwork he submitted was required for all candidates and should have had at least 473 signatures from ward residents supporting his intention to run.
While the claim that Percy had insufficient signatures was thrown out, the board upheld the objection that Percy had submitted paperwork used for the general primary election, according to decision filed Jan. 5 by the election board.
That’s a problem because it could confuse the voter and also named Percy’s political affiliation. The municipal elections are nonpartisan.
Percy learned of the decision in an email from the board last week.
“The buck stops on me, regardless,” Percy said. “I won’t gripe over the opportunity I missed.”
In a previous interview, Percy told AustinTalks that an Illinois State Board of Elections employee advised him to use an incorrect template – the one for the general primary election – but he didn’t question it.
Percy said he plans to run in the next aldermanic election in 2019. In the meantime, he wants to start a non-profit group to help with job placement, youth mentoring and food pantry distribution.
An objection filed against another 37th Ward candidate – Leroy Duncan – was withdrawn, records show. That objection, filed by Darryl Jackson, claimed Duncan’s papers had misleading language.
In the 29th Ward, four people have withdrawn from race, cutting voters’ choices from a dozen to eight candidates.
Lisa Jackon, Maurice J. Robinson, Brenda Smith and Deborah Williams have called it quits, records show. Robinson, the only person AustinTalks could reach this week, said he had quit because his start-up company was suffering.
A number of complaints were filed by Marjorie Fields against Robinson and five other candidates, but he laughed off the claims in an interview with AustinTalks last month. The objections were the same against each candidate, claiming their paperwork was illegitimate and had insufficient signatures.
On his way to a hearing for those objections, Robinson said he got a phone call from an associate telling him the bad news about his company, Underground360.
“My company just tanked because I was dedicating so much to the campaign,” Robinson said.
Robinson said he is now throwing his support to candidate Chris Taliaferro and is helping out with the campaign but does not have a paying position. He also hopes to get Underground360 — a music-based company — back on its feet.
Taliaferro is smart, honest and, most importantly, humble, Robinson said.
“I’ve been asked by almost everyone to join their camp,” Robinson said. “I said yes to Chris because he said, ‘Maurice, I need your help.'”
Elections threw out the complaints filed against tephen Robinson and Oddis Johnson, Stephen Robinson and Zerlina A. Smith – all filed by Marjorie Fields.