A little more than two months after a county electoral board ruled that a Greenville attorney could not run as the Republican candidate for states attorney in November, it is being asked to determine whether he may run as an independent candidate.
Not only is that Greenville attorney willing to fight for the right to be on the November ballot, but he is also alleging that the incumbent states attorney has abused the power of his office in an attempt to keep him off the ballot.
Democrat Stephen Friedel filed with Fayette County Clerk & Recorder Terri D. Braun on Monday an objection to the nomination papers filed by Daniel Goggin.
In that petition, Friedel claims that of the 511 signatures on nominating petitions filed by Goggin on June 23, 192 are invalid. That would drop the number of signatures to 319, or 81 less than the required minimum of 400 signatures.
Friedel alleges that 192 signatures cannot be considered valid either because those individuals either are not registered voters, did not provide their complete address, do not live in Fayette County, had their names signed by someone else, signed their name more than once or signed petitions circulated by someone who he claims cannot legally circulate petitions for an independent candidate.
He also alleges that in some cases, the person who allegedly circulated petitions was not present when the sheets were signed.
On the allegation that some petitions were handled by improper circulators, Friedel claims that those individuals may not legally work for an independent candidate because they circulated nominating petitions for Republican candidates for this years primary.
Friedel claims that some or all of the signatures on 30 of 43 signature sheets filed by Goggin should be declared invalid by the countys electoral board.
He said on Wednesday morning that he plans to call at least 10 people to the witness stand at the electoral board hearing.
By state law, that electoral board must convene within five days to rule on such an objection. The hearing is set for 1 p.m. on Monday.
By law, that board must consist of the countys election official (Braun), circuit clerk (Marsha Wodtka) and states attorney (Friedel). Friedels place on the board is by the first alternate, County Treasurer Rose Hoover. The sheriff, Aaron Lay, is the second alternate.
This is the second time that Friedel has objected to Goggin appearing on the ballot as a candidate for states attorney in Fayette County.
In April, the electoral board granted Friedels objection to Goggin running as a Republican. Friedel alleged problems with Goggins nominating petition, including the claim that Goggin failed to file his petition within three days of being nominated by the party.
Goggin and county GOP Central Committee Chairman Randy Pollard contended that simply they put the incorrect nomination date on the petition.
In response to Friedels latest objection, Goggin said, It is obvious that Mr. Friedel does not want to be challenged in Novembers election.
Goggin said he believes that the electoral board will rule in his favor this time.
I am very confident that if the law is upheld that my nomination petitions contain more than enough signatures to place my name on the ballot, said Goggin, a 41-year-old Greenville native who has operated a private practice in that community since 1992.
If the election board follows the law, then there is no proper issue to defeat the validity of my nomination petitions, he said. If the board rules against him this time, Goggin said he will pursue any and all avenues available, including but not limited to judicial review.
Goggin said he not only intends to argue for the validity of those petitions, but that he plans to pursue action against Friedel for steps that he allegedly took to keep him (Goggin) off the ballot.
In a two-count complaint dated June 29, Goggin alleges that Friedel attempted to prevent him from supporting his nominating petition as an independent candidate by threatening to criminally prosecute certain individuals associated with (Goggins) campaign.
In the second count, Goggin alleges that Friedel threatened to prosecute one of those individuals unless he withdrew his support for (Goggin) and /or convince (Goggin) to withdraw his petition for nomination as an independent candidate.
In a cover letter attached with the complaint that he sent to Friedel last week, Goggin said, As your office has an obvious complaint with this complaint, I assume you will secure appointment of an independent attorney to handle this matter through the circuit court.
Friedel declined to comment on Goggins allegations, adding that he had made several attempts in the past couple of days to notify the Illinois Attorney Generals Office of the complaint.
Goggin states in the letter that if he did not receive a response from Friedel by this Wednesday, that he will pursue the matter by other means.