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Severson objector says some signatures don’t meet requirements

Published: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 10:20 p.m. CDT

Ron Severson’s bid for state representative is being challenged – possibly by his own political party – because the objector says some of his signatures do not meet state-required qualifications.

A Morris resident and chairman of the Grundy County Board, Severson filed his petition Nov. 27 to run in the GOP primary for state representative for the 75th District. He is challenging John Anthony, of Plainfield, who was appointed to in August to replace Republican Pam Roth after she resigned to move to Texas with her family.

Of the 500 required signatures to get his name on the ballot, Severson said he got about 900, turned in more than 700 after checking them over and that he got more than 400 himself by going door to door.

“I followed the spirit of the law and I think the letter of the law,” Severson said. “But when you get 900 signatures you could make a mistake.”

A few hours after being filed, a John Fogarty requested to view or copy Severson’s petitions, according to the website of the Illinois State Board of Elections website. An Internet search found a John Fogarty – listed at the same business address as on the website for the person who requested Severson’s petitions – who is a Chicago attorney. The biography on his firm’s website says he is general counsel to the Illinois Republican Party.

Severson’s petition is being objected to by two people: Keith Becker of Millington and Charles Walton of Plano. The website does not list their political affiliations.

The objectors’ petition, which Severson has obtained, claims some of Severson’s signatures are of people who do not live in the 75th District, not registered to the address the signers used or the signer is not the proper person.

Severson said even if some signers made a mistake, he had more than 200 extra signatures and does not believe any mistakes would put him under the required 500 signatures.

“The Republican organization going after a Republican candidate and trying to get him off the ballot. This is pathetic,” he said. “It wouldn’t be a big scandal if it was a Democrat.”

A hearing on the objections is scheduled for Tuesday.

One of the objectors, Severson believes, is a member of Anthony’s campaign doing his wishes.

Anthony adamantly denies this.

“Mr. Severson claims I did this. That is completely not true,” Anthony said. “I welcome a challenge. I think its healthy for our democracy.”

Becker circulated petitions for Anthony, according to the objection petitions Severson has obtained, and turned in multiple sheets that contain a stamped seal from the notary.

“He can’t say its a Joe Schmoe out there that has an objection,” Severson said.

A listed phone number for Becker is disconnected.

Although Becker appears to have campaigned for Anthony, Anthony said he has nothing to do with Severson’s petition objections.

“So many people did petitions for me,” Anthony said.

“From my understanding it’s from the House Republicans Organization,” he said. “I am not involved in this.”

A call to Joe Woodward of the House Republican Organization was not immediately returned.

Fogarty, the attorney, returned a phone call two days after the Morris Daily Herald made an initial call earlier this week, but did not immediately return a call made Friday.

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