SPRINGFIELD — Whether he likes it or not, Republican Jesse Sullivan is now in a contest for last place — in the June primary ballot, that is.
The downstate venture capitalist filed his candidacies to run for governor just as state Board of Elections offices closed on Monday, a last-minute move that would usually have won him the last place in the GOP primary ballot – seen as an electoral advantage of some sort to some.
But because two other Republicans filed for the race at the same time, all three will now enter a lottery to see who nabs the final spot in the GOP governor’s primary ballot.
Monday was the last day of the weeklong period in which candidates for federal, state and local offices had to file paperwork to win a spot in the June 28 primary ballot.
The other top Republican gubernatorial candidates in the crowded primary race filed last week on the first day of filing.
Most had staff lining up outside the Illinois State Board of Elections before the doors opened at 8 a.m. last Monday, entering them into a lottery to have their names appear at the top of the ballot. voting, a place that many believe gives candidates in the racing crowd an edge, however slim.
Similarly, political insiders see last place as the next best option.
Sullivan, who was joined by his running mate, Kathleen Murphy, said the decision to file on the final day was “strategic”.
“We had more than enough signatures at the start of this whole week,” the Petersburg resident told reporters outside council headquarters, apparently signaling the start of the filing period.
“We decided that for strategic reasons we wanted to wait,” Sullivan said before entering the building. “We kept collecting signatures until the end.”
Sullivan said his campaign garnered more than 10,000 signatures, more than triple what is required by law to qualify for the ballot.
This isn’t the first time the Central Illinois venture capitalist has made a last-minute move. Sullivan became the last announced GOP gubernatorial nominee to name a running mate when Murphy joined the ticket in early February.
This delayed his ability to collect signatures for his petitions, since primary voters nominate governor and lieutenant governor on a single ticket. This means that gubernatorial candidates cannot begin circulating nomination petitions until they have determined a running mate. As a result, the Sullivan campaign began collecting signatures more than three weeks later than other Republican tickets that had already chosen running mates.
The other Republican gubernatorial candidates in the lottery with Sullivan are Hazel Crest’s attorney Max Solomon, who is running with Latasha Fields as a candidate for lieutenant governor, and Country Club Hills entrepreneur Keisha Smith. , who filed his file without a running mate.
Monday’s three filers bring the Republican gubernatorial primary field to eight.
They join State Senator Darren Bailey, R-Xenia; Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, millionaire businessman Gary Rabine and former state senator Paul Schimpf, all of whom filed for the GOP primary a week ago on day one.
The draws for first and last place on the ballot are scheduled for March 23.
Wheaton Republican Emily Johnson filed her petitions seeking the nomination last Wednesday.
They are all vying to challenge Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, who faces a primary challenge from West Sider Beverly Miles.
The cluttered field could shrink as a result of petition challenges.
Another late-breaking reporter on Monday was Tom DeVore, a southern Illinois attorney known for a series of lawsuits against Governor JB Pritzker’s COVID-19 mitigation measures. The Sorento resident has filed petitions to run for attorney general in the Republican primary.
DeVore announced he was running for the job just three weeks ago. He is competing with fellow Republicans Steve Kim of Deerfield and David Shestokas of Orland Park.
The three are in the running to challenge incumbent Democrat Kwame Raoul in November.