Tuesday, MAYWOOD — Antoinette “Toni” Gray, the Maywood businesswoman seeking to challenge sitting State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch for the 7th District General Assembly seat in the Democratic Primary race, has reportedly been removed from the ballot according to sources close to both campaigns. According to the Cook County Clerk’s website, the decision was made today at an 11am hearing. As of press time, however, the site had not been updated to account for this most recent development. With the Republican challenger, Mark Salispan, having had his candidacy withdrawn late last year, it appears that Rep. Welch will run uncontested for the remainder of the election, barring an independent candidate entering the race for the general–a scenario that appears to be rather unlikely according to sources. Both Ms. Gray and Mr. Salispan were challenged by Daphene Walker of Bellwood.
According to the objector’s petition, Walker challenged Gray’s candidacy based on claims that the Maywood businesswoman submitted invalid nomination papers and does not meet the residency requirements to run for office in the 7th District. Illinois election law requires a candidate to establish residency in a particular district for at least two years before running for office in that district. More as this story develops. VFP