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Village candidates disqualified; Three hopefuls could make run as write-ins

ASHTON – Three village candidates in the April 9 election have been disqualified because they failed to turn in required paperwork.

Friday, an electoral board determined that the candidates should be automatically disqualified because they didn’t submit proof that they turned in statements of economic interest, officials said.

Those disqualified were Don Ross, a former village president who wanted his old job back; Richard Russell, a 32-year veteran of the board of trustees; and Andrew Kida, a trustee elected 4 years ago.

The electoral board met Friday to address objections filed by Village President John Martinez, who said the three candidates failed to file documentation for their statements of economic interest. Such statements are required under Illinois law to show whether candidates have conflicts of interest.

Ross, Russell and Kida filed their statements with the Lee County clerk, but needed to show proof of that with their petitions.

With the three candidates off the ballot, Martinez has no opponent and four candidates are now vying for three seats on the board of trustees.

Russell and Kida say they’re considering running as write-in candidates.

In an interview last week, Russell conceded that Martinez likely was right in his objections, but accused the village president of taking a “cheap shot.” He said Martinez apparently feared he couldn’t beat Ross. In 2009, Martinez prevailed over then-Village President Ross, 185-164.

Kida, an ally of Martinez, said the village president did the right thing by filing the objections.

Martinez said the electoral board should have automatically rejected the candidates because of the lack of required paperwork.

“I don’t take pleasure in candidates being out,” he said. “It’s a lose-lose for me. It looks like I’m trying to get rid of my opponent. I was trying to do the honorable thing.”

He denied he was afraid to run against Ross, saying he gets excited when he has competition.

Kida said no one had to file objections to get the candidates disqualified.

“They [electoral board] should have gotten together and yanked the ones that didn’t qualify,” he said. “[The board] should be meeting every time; I don’t think it does.”

As for a write-in candidacy, Kida said he is weighing his options.

“Being a write-in is usually a difficult thing to do, anyway,” he said. “I have to look at how much time I can dedicate to campaigning. Not only do you have to campaign as a write-in candidate, but you have to educate people to write your name down correctly. That gets problematic.”

The next election is in 2015.

“Waiting 2 years wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world,” Kida said.

Ross couldn’t be reached for comment.

Who's running?

The candidates running in the April 9 Ashton village election:

Mayor: John Martinez (i)

Three open seats on board of trustees: Tom Balch (i), Susan Larson, Billie Jo Heier, Kevin O'Dell

i – incumbent

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