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In Chicago, Questions About Who Gathered Ballot Signatures for Candidates

By Kevin Robinson in News on Nov 30, 2010 3:40PM

2010_11_9_meeks.jpg Both the Chicago News Cooperative and the Sun-Times are reporting that some of the people who collected signatures to get mayoral candidates on the ballot might not be Chicago residents, or have residency backgrounds that suggest their support may not be everything that the candidates claim their campaigns are.

The CNC is reporting that Christian Moree of Mundelein, who submitted 185 petitions for Rahm Emanuel was among the candidate's top signature gatherers, along with people from places as far-flung as Schaumburg, Glenview, Dolton and Kenosha, Wisconsin. Other gatherers listed their residence as Portland, Oregon and Washington, D.C. The Sun-Times has revealed that both State Senator James Meeks and Emanuel tenant-cum-candidate Rob Halpin each used the same paid gatherer, a homeless man who listed his address as a warming shelter in Uptown. And an examination of Gery Chico's petitions found that campaign workers for 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke lent a great deal of support to the effort. Burke hasn't yet said whom he'll support in the race, but the Southwest side alderman told the organization that “we haven’t officially made an endorsement, but it would be close to that.” Of the candidates that used paid gatherers, former Senator Carol Moseley Braun used the most, relatively few from outside the city. “Our work force came from a lot of people who are out looking for jobs in this bad economy,” her campaign manager, Mike Noonan, told the CNC.

Aside from Emanuel's gatherers coming from outside of the city (not surprising), both Halpin and Meeks used the same homeless man to collect signatures. Meeks denied that there was any connection between the candidates, saying that there was no coordinated effort between the Meeks campaign and the Haplin campaign to undermine Emanuel's run. “I don’t know Rob Halpin,” Meeks told the Sun-Times. “I don’t know the homeless person” he said. Meeks’ attorney, Burt Odelson, dismissed the suggestion that the two campaigns were working together to undermine Emanuel's run for mayor. “There are some people out there who are for sale,” Odelson said of Arthur J. Hardy Jr, the homeless man who brought in six percent of Meeks's signatures, and 22 percent of Halpin's. “This guy probably circulated for other campaigns besides Meeks and Halpin.”