Last week Cook County Circuit Court Judge Robert Bertucci upheld a ruling from the Chicago Board of Electoral Commissioners that kept candidate Raul Montes on the ballot in his primary challenge to State Sen. Steven Landek (D-Bridgeview) in the 12th District.
Bertucci rejected an appeal from prominent election lawyer Burt Odelson, who argued that Montes should be knocked off the March 20 primary ballot because some of the signatures that Montes personally gathered were ruled invalid.
Odelson also argued at a Jan. 31 hearing in Bertucci’s courtroom at the Daley Center that minor changes made to Montes’ statement of candidacy made after the statement was notarized rendered it invalid.
“As to each of the allegations I find in the candidate’s favor affirming the electoral board’s ruling,” Bertucci said from the bench.
Bertucci said there was no case where such nominal changes were made and the candidate was not allowed to run.
After the ruling, Odelson said he would appeal Bertucci’s decision.
“This is just the first step,” Odelson said. “Just part of the process. It was going to the appellate court no matter who won.”
Montes’ lawyer, Andrew Finko, questioned Odelson’s motivations for filing the appeal of the electoral board’s ruling.
“He filed the petition knowing that was no evidence to support the allegation,” Finko said.
Finko had asked Bertucci to sanction Odelson for a filing a frivolous appeal, but Bertucci refused to do so.
Odelson is representing Gary Crossman, the manager of community relations for the village of Bridgeview. In addition to serving as state senator, Landek is the mayor of Bridgeview.
Montes said that the petition challenge and the court appeals are being done to force him to spend time and money on petition challenges and to prevent him from running an effective campaign.