State Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) will not have an opponent as he runs for re-election this year. Last week the Chicago Board of Elections ruled that his primary opponent, Anna Goral, did not have enough valid signatures on her nominating petitions and ordered that Goral’s name be removed from the March 20 primary ballot.

Goral’s nominating petitions were challenged by Terrence Austin, a resident of Bridgeview. Zalewski said that Austin was a supporter of his.

The elections board sustained objections to 496 of the signatures on Goral’s nominating petitions, leaving her with 486 valid signatures – 14 short of the required 500 valid signatures to get the ballot.

Goral is a real estate broker who lives on the Southwest Side of Chicago. Last year she unsuccessfully challenged Zalewski’s father in the race for alderman in Chicago’s 23rd Ward.

The ruling leaves the younger Zalewski without an opponent in the primary and he will run unopposed in the November general election, because no Republican has filed to run in the 23rd District, which will include Riverside north of Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks and much of Brookfield.

The state’s legislative districts were redrawn last year during the decennial redistricting process. Zalewski is currently the state representative in the 21st District, which includes most of Riverside and Brookfield.

Despite having no opponent on the ballot Zalewski says that he will run a normal campaign.

“I’m not going to take anything for granted,” Zalewski said. “We’re going to do walks, we’re going to do lawn signs, we’re going to do direct mail, let people know what I’ve been up to. It doesn’t change a whole heck of a lot of our approach.”

– Bob Skolnik