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By Kevin Beese
February 9, 2017
BROADVIEW | A write-in effort to force a Broadview primary has failed.
Five individuals were attempting to be write-in candidates for the Better Broadview Party, filling empty slots on the ticket’s slate and challenging the party’s sole candidate for election. The only problem was that the individuals all have ties to the rival political organization, the Broadview People’s Party.
An agreement has been reached that the individuals – Robert G. Abraham, Patricia Freda, Jorene A. Gordon, Raedell Greer and Tom Hood – will withdraw their write-in candidacies. Otherwise, there would have been a primary Feb. 28.
“This was not just five random residents who thought about running for office in Broadview,” said Judy Brown-Marino, head of the Better Broadview Party. “These are individuals with a long history with the Broadview People’s Party.”
Hood was seeking to be the BBP’s candidate for president; Freda was seeking to be the party’s candidate for clerk; and Abraham, Gordon and Greer were running to be the party’s three trustee candidates.
Abraham, Gordon and Greer would have faced Brown-Marino, the only BPP candidate to file for the election, in a primary for the trustee positions.
An objection field by Brown-Marino in Cook County Circuit Court claims that the five “not only signed the nominating petitions for another party (the People’s Party), they signed the nominating petitions for a full slate of candidates for the very offices for which they allegedly intend to run, thereby supporting the nomination of their opponents.”
The Broadview People’s Party slate for the April 4 elections is: Katrina Thompson for mayor; Kevin McGrier for clerk; and Judy Abraham, Verina Horne and Sherman Jones for trustee.
Jones, currently the mayor, is running for trustee due to the village’s imposed two-term mayoral limit, passed by voters via referendum last year.
The only candidate on the ballot for Better Broadview Party is Brown-Marino.
The BBP candidate said due to complications, she was not able to get a full slate of candidates for the April election. Brown-Marino said she had not planned on even seeking re-election.
“In 2015, I decided I was not going to run again,” she said. “I had been a trustee since 2011 and it was just me (from the BBP) on the board. I was not going to bother … My husband had just retired and I was thinking about going back to work.”
Along with challenging the write-in candidates, Brown-Marino also challenged the clerk candidacy petitions of Shemeka Austin and the trustee candidacy petitions of Ahkeem Henderson and Andrea Senior.
Brown-Marino said she had no intention of filing any objections this year, but said she believed Henderson and Senior did not have enough signatures submitted to even qualify for the ballot, and that she got a call from someone saying that it looked like Austin’s petitions had many signatures in the same handwriting.
“It’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull,” Brown-Marino said. “We do not need any more people in Broadview willing to break the law and cut corners.”
She said had the potential candidates more closely followed the rules, she would not have challenged the petitions.
“I don’t do this for sport,” Brown-Marino said. “I don’t do this to mess with opponents.”
In challenging the Austin, Henderson and Senior petitions, however, Brown-Marino was deemed to have gained unfair access to the village clerk that the general public could not have gotten. All three challenges were dismissed and will move to a binder check to ensure enough valid signatures are on the petitions.
The Broadview Municipal Officers Electoral Board ruled that Trustee John Ealey had opened the door to the clerk’s office after 5 p.m. on the last day to file objections enabling Brown-Marino to submit the challenges to the clerk, an advantage members of the public did not have.
“They felt I used my position as a trustee as an unfair advantage,” Brown-Marino said.
Brown-Marino said she was rushing to get to the Village Hall after being Downtown checking voting records. She said she thought that she had gotten to the municipal building right at 5 p.m.
“John came and opened the door for me to go and give the challenges to the clerk. His being helpful actually hurt me,” Brown-Marino said.
The trustee said what clinched the case against her was the clerk testifying that she felt pressure to take the challenges from her.
“Her testifying that she felt pressured tipped it,” Brown-Marino said. “I do think law was on my side and if I took it to (Cook County) Circuit Court probably would have won, but it would have been $368 per case to file it in court.”