A third candidate, Peter J. Coffey, filed just before yesterday’s filing deadline for 47th Ward Democratic Committeeman, matching himself up against incumbent Gene Schulter and lobbyist Paul Rosenfeld.
Coffey, currently the Director of Government Affairs for DePaul University, is a former campaign official for President Bill Clinton. Rumored for at least a week, his entry into the campaign has been has thrown political insiders abuzz, as they wonder why someone with a well-paid and sensitive institutional job would jump into the messy and fractious world of ward politics.
It will not be an easy campaign for Coffey, a first-time office seeker, as he faces incumbent and former 47th Ward Ald. Gene Schulter, who reported over $823,000 in his political campaign accounts September 30. The second challenger, Paul Rosenfeld, is a well-known state lobbyist and former staffer for 33rd Ward Ald. Dick Mell who has already gained the endorsement of sitting 47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar and Cook County County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (D).
In other wards, 40th Ward Ald. and Dem. Committeeman Pat O’Connor and 33rd Ward Ald. and Dem. Committeeman Dick Mell will both run unopposed in their March 20, 2012 primaries for Committeeman.
State legislators Rep. Ann Williams (D-11) and Rep. Greg Harris (D-13) as well as State Sen. Heather Steans and State Sen. and Senate President John Cullerton will also run unopposed in the March Democratic Primary election.
47th Ward Republican Committeeman David Ratowitz will run unopposed while Bill Powers and Rafael Chagin will compete for the 40th Ward Republican Committeeman open seat and Gregory Eidukas will run against Scott Campbell for the open 33rd Ward Republican Committeeman seat.
Now that they’ve submitted their paperwork, candidates have to survive a ballot challenge period, where the legal validity of their petitions to be on the ballot can be challenged for picayune reasons such as signature legibility and correct page numbering. The final ballot lineup will not be approved by the Chicago Board of Elections until February 3, 2012.