By John Byrne and Hal Dardick
3:29 PM CST, December 23, 2011
A Northwest Side alderman likely will not be allowed to run for re-election as the 35th Ward Democratic committeeman because of a challenge to the number of signatures he submitted to get his name on the ballot.
Yolanda Sayre, a hearing officer for the Chicago Board of Elections, recommended the challenge be upheld after Ald. Rey Colon did not appear for a Friday afternoon hearing. The Board of Election Commissioners will consider the recommendation.
If Colon's name is removed from the ballot, it would clear the way for Nancy Schiavone, who ran unsuccessfully against Colon for alderman this year, to become Democratic committeeman in the 35th Ward, which includes parts of the Logan Square, Avondale and Irving Park neighborhoods. The party position is unpaid, but carries with it political power within the ward-level Democratic organization.
The challenge was filed by Miguel Sotomayor -- who also ran against Colon for alderman -- and ward resident Roger Klich. It objected to the validity of 162 of Colon's nominating signatures. Without those names, Colon no longer has the 347 signatures necessary to get on the ballot.
Colon could not be reached for comment.
Also Friday, a brewing fight for Democratic committeeman in the 47th Ward, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel lives, was averted when representatives of the mayor intervened. Former alderman Eugene Schulter dropped his committeeman re-election bid and Paul Rosenfeld, an ally of current Ald. Ameya Pawar, also pulled out.
That leaves Peter Coffey a DePaul University employee who Emanuel supports, as the only candidate.
Thomas Bowen, who runs Emanuel's New Chicago political committee, said Emanuel supporters helped convince the two sides to stand down so the party can concentrate on the challenges ahead.
"We played a behind-the-scenes role to avoid a divisive fight here," Bowen said. "This is the compromise we came up with."
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