, a Republican write-in candidate from Park Ridge, to represent the , but Rosemary Mulligan, a Republican from who announced she would not seek another term in January, does not support her candidacy.
Further, Mulligan said the Illinois House Republican Organization was responsible for submitting the petition signatures that were successfully challenged by a Des Plaines resident, knocking her name off the primary ballot.
Mulligan said she handed over her petition signatures to the Illinois House Republican Organization to complete because she had several personal setbacks at the time, including the death of a close friend.
“So I never got the petitions back, and I never looked at them,” Mulligan said. “But what they turned in was ludicrous. They didn’t have signatures on them, they didn’t have addresses on them, they weren’t notarized, I mean, they did a really bad job. And nobody that had any common sense or was in their right mind would have turned them in.”
Mulligan said she suspected the petition signatures were submitted incomplete on purpose.
“When people look at them, they say they did this to you intentionally,” Mulligan said. “So that’s my feeling. I think for some reason this was an intentional way of dropping me.”
In addition, Mulligan said, an attorney from the organization, John G. Fogarty, advised her to remove her name from the ballot, which she did, instead of allowing the State Board of Elections to go through the petition signatures, and then remove her, because it would look better in the long run. She said she planned on filing an attorney’s discipline and review complaint against Fogarty.
“[Fogarty] didn’t represent me honestly,” Mulligan said.
Mulligan said members of the organization thought she was not going to back Rep. Tom Cross for minority leader of the House Republicans.
“So they threw me under the bus,” Mulligan said. “The goal was to remove me so that they would have someone else that was new and obligated to back him.”
Kevin Artl, political director of the Illinois House Republican Organization, said Mulligan asked for help securing signatures a week before the filing deadline, and ultimately they came up short.
“I think there was some decision-making on [Mulligan’s] part that might have delayed her expediency in getting the petitions out, and as a result it became a struggle to secure the signatures,” Artl said.
Artl said in conversations with Mulligan in November and December it became clear she would not seek election in the fall. He said her plan was to get through the primary and then appoint someone to the ballot.
As committeeman of the Maine Township Republican Organization, Mulligan has the ability to appoint a candidate on behalf of the organization.
“At no point in the conversations was it made clear to us that she would be running for the fall election,” Artl said.
“With that in mind, and with great respect to the voters, it didn’t make sense for us at that point to support a candidate who did not want to be the candidate all the way through the election cycle,” Artl added.
Mulligan wrote in an email addressed to area Republicans before the primary:
“I would be less than candid if I didn’t say I believe the current woman running [Sweeney] cannot beat the Democrat candidate . She doesn’t even live in the district. This will be the first time in 20 years that our area has a far right, anti-choice candidate. It is disappointing that the House Republican leader’s [Cross’] campaign minion [Artl] has interfered in our district.”
Mulligan said the Illinois House Republican Organization informed her they would not be supporting her two days before the filing period. She said one reason she was given for the organization’s backing of Sweeney was that members thought a pro-life candidate would run better in the district.
“Which is baloney because this district has been pro-choice for the last 20 years,” Mulligan said.
“I don’t know what data would suggest that,” Artl said.
He said there were about 8,000 Republican ballots cast in the 55th District, compared with about 3,900 Democratic ballots.
“You’re looking at a resurgent Republican strength coming to the ballot booth, and I think the dominant issues in the district are going to be jobs and the economy,” Artl said. I think that’s what people want to focus on right now.”
Mulligan said she would have to wait to see what members of the Maine Township Republican Organization wished to do about endorsing Sweeney after a candidate forum sometime in the next several months.
“I doubt seriously I’ll personally endorse her,” Mulligan said.