Illi­nois pres­i­den­tial pri­mary fil­ing pe­riod ends

Walsh not among Trump foes; Dem slates show split

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAN­D - By Rick Pear­son [email protected]

The fil­ing pe­riod for Illi­nois’ St. Pa­trick’s Day pres­i­den­tial pri­mary ended Fri­day with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump fac­ing only a po­ten­tial chal­lenge from two lit­tle known can­di­dates on the Repub­li­can bal­lot while more than a dozen chal­lengers lined up to seek their party’s nom­i­na­tion on the Demo­cratic bal­lot.

The close of the two-day fil­ing pe­riod also proved an em­bar­rass­ment to the de­clared can­di­dacy of Trump critic and for­mer Repub­li­can con­gress­man Joe Walsh, of Bar­ring­ton. By not fil­ing in his home state, Walsh raised fur­ther doubts about the vi­a­bil­ity of his chal­lenge to Trump and added fuel to ques­tions of whether the for­mer ra­dio talk show host’s run was largely a van­ity ef­fort.

It’s un­likely all 13 Democrats who filed for pres­i­dent will be con­tend­ing when Illi­nois vot­ers go to the polls on March 17. By then, ear­lier cau­cus and pri­mary states will have de­cided more than half of the del­e­gates to the party’s na­tional nom­i­nat­ing con­ven­tion in Mil­wau­kee in mid-July.

Ad­di­tion­ally, only Sens. Bernie San­ders, of Ver­mont, and El­iz­a­beth War­ren, of Mas­sachusetts, filed full slates of 101 del­e­gate can­di­dates across the state’s 18 con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tions. For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den fell just shy of a full slate, while busi­ness­man An­drew Yang, for­mer South Bend Mayor Pete But­tigieg and Min­nesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar filed only par­tial slates.

No del­e­gate can­di­dates were filed by busi­ness­men Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, for­mer Mas­sachusetts Gov. De­val Pa­trick, for­mer Mary­land Rep. John De­laney, Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard, of Hawaii, and Sens. Cory Booker, of New Jersey, and Michael Ben­net, of Colorado.

Un­der the state’s com­pli­cated Demo­cratic Party rules, even can­di­dates who don’t file del­e­gate slates can be awarded del­e­gates if they se­cure enough of the pri­mary’s pop­u­lar vote within a con­gres­sional district. But those who filed del­e­gate slates, even par­tial ones, are viewed as hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage in or­ga­ni­za­tional strength as the na­tional cam­paign goes into full swing with the Iowa cau­cuses on Feb. 3.

Look­ing at the del­e­gate can­di­dates, the fil­ings show a split among Democrats be­tween the party’s es­tab­lish­ment wing, rep­re­sented most no­tably by Bi­den, and its pro­gres­sive wing, led by the can­di­da­cies of San­ders and War­ren. It also shows the in­creased in­volve­ment of women and a con­tin­ued, grow­ing youth move­ment in Illi­nois pol­i­tics.

San­ders’ or­ga­ni­za­tional strength was ap­par­ent when he was the only con­tender to file a full slate of del­e­gates on the first day of the two-day fil­ing pe­riod. In Illi­nois’ 2016 pri­mary, San­ders lost to Hil­lary Clin­ton by a scant 2 per­cent­age points. The re­sult meant he and Clin­ton al­most evenly split the state’s del­e­gate count.

Among San­ders’ del­e­gate can­di­dates are Cook County Com­mis­sioner Alma Anaya, state Sen. Robert Peters, of Chicago, and state Rep. Carol Am­mons, of Ur­bana.

War­ren’s del­e­gate slate in­cludes state Trea­surer Michael Frerichs, state Sen. Omar Aquino and state Rep. Will Guz­zardi, of Chicago, as well as state Sen. Cristina Cas­tro, state Rep. Anna Moeller, of El­gin, and Cook County Asses­sor Fritz Kaegi, of Oak Park.

Bi­den’s es­tab­lish­men­to­ri­ented del­e­gate can­di­dates in­clude for­mer Gov. Pat Quinn, state Reps. Bob Rita, of Blue Is­land, Chris Welch, of Hill­side, and Jay Hoff­man, of Swansea, and Chicago Ald. Rod Sawyer, 6th; Ald. Bren­dan Reilly, 42nd; Ald. Pat Dow­ell, 3rd; and Ald. Emma Mitts, 37th.

On the Repub­li­can side, fil­ing against Trump was peren­nial can­di­date Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, of

San Diego. But De La Fuente did not file any del­e­gate can­di­dates, mak­ing his bal­lot ap­pear­ance vir­tu­ally mean­ing­less to­ward win­ning the nom­i­na­tion.

Also fil­ing for a spot on the Repub­li­can bal­lot was John Schiess, of Rice Lake, Wis­con­sin, who also filed no del­e­gate can­di­dates.

State Repub­li­can rules put the em­pha­sis on pres­i­den­tial con­tenders fil­ing del­e­gate can­di­dates. Un­like the Demo­cratic rules, where del­e­gates are ap­por­tioned by the strength of the can­di­dates’ show­ing in each con­gres­sional district, the

Repub­li­can votes for pres­i­dent are known as purely a “beauty con­test” with vot­ers di­rectly elect­ing con­ven­tion del­e­gates.

Walsh, a one-term “tea party” con­gress­man from 2011 to ’13, an­nounced his can­di­dacy to chal­lenge Trump in Au­gust. He has ap­peared reg­u­larly on na­tional po­lit­i­cal shows to crit­i­cize the pres­i­dent, whom he en­dorsed in 2016.

Walsh aides have said he was con­cen­trat­ing on early cau­cus and pri­mary states, such as Iowa and New Hamp­shire. But the in­abil­ity to field a del­e­gate can­di­dacy on his home turf, where he is most well known, would ap­pear to be a se­ri­ous im­ped­i­ment for him mov­ing for­ward.

Trump fell one del­e­gate shy of a com­plete slate of 54 del­e­gates — three for each con­gres­sional district. In ad­di­tion to U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, of Peo­ria, Trump del­e­gates in­clude Bol­ing­brook Mayor Roger Claar, state Sen. Chapin Rose, of Ma­homet, state Rep. John Ca­bello, of Mach­es­ney Park, who was co-chair of Trump’s 2016 ef­fort in Illi­nois, and Lake County GOP Chair­man Mark Shaw, of Lake For­est, who also is a state GOP co-chair.

MARK HUMPHREY/AP 2019

Repub­li­can can­di­date Joe Walsh, of Bar­ring­ton, did not file for Illi­nois’ March pres­i­den­tial pri­mary. That raises doubts about the vi­a­bil­ity of his chal­lenge to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

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