Metro-East News

Patton is off 56th Senate District ballot, but there may be a GOP choice in the fall

Hal Patton
Hal Patton

Even though the state Supreme Court won’t let Hal Patton on the primary ballot in the 56th State Senate District doesn’t mean Rachelle Aud Crowe will be the only candidate in the November election.

Local Republican leaders in the Senate district have the option of slating a candidate to run for the seat held by Alton Democrat Bill Haine, who is not running for re-election.

Only Crowe, a Madison County assistant state's attorney and Democrat, and Patton, the Edwardsville mayor and Republican, filed to run in the primary.

But an appeals court has ruled Patton cannot be on the ballot.

Under state law, the leaders of the Republican Central Committees where the 56th District lies could appoint someone to run in the November election. The party chairmen in the counties of the 56th District would have weighted votes based on how many people voted in the previous primary election.

The district includes much of Madison County, as well as parts of Jersey and St. Clair counties.

Jeremy Plank, chairman of the Madison County Republican Central Committee, said party insiders are considering options on whether to slate a candidate for the general election.

“We are evaluating the situation,” Plank said. “We haven’t come to any conclusions yet on that process.”

Plank said party leaders are encouraging people to vote for Patton, because his is the only name on already-printed ballots for the 56th District Republican primary. However, votes for Patton in the March 20 primary election will not count.

“He’s put the work in, gone through the process of trying to get on the ballot,” Plank said. “We have to give the respect that he deserves in this situation.”

Barbara Viviano, chairwoman of the St. Clair County Republican Central Committee, declined comment.

Gary Kreuger, chairman of the Jersey County Republican Central Committee, said he has yet to be contacted about a slating process.

Patton was removed from the ballot because he signed the re-election petitions of state Rep. Katie Stuart, an Edwardsville Democrat. A candidate cannot sign election petitions of another party.

Patton's candidacy was challenged; a Cook County judge removed Patton from the ballot. A state appeals court upheld the decision and the state Supreme Court decided against hearing the case.

If Republican leadership wants to slate a candidate, it has until June 4 to do so; the candidate also would need to gather at least 1,000 valid voter signatures.

The State Board of Elections said Patton can't be slated for the general election.

"The issue in the Patton objection that kept him off the ballot was that his signing of a Democrat’s nominating petition made him ineligible for nomination as a Republican," State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said in an email to the BND. "Essentially, it said that he is a Democrat for this election cycle. Thus, he can’t be slated by the Republicans for the general election (at least not without surviving an inevitable court challenge)."

Dietrich said Patton can run as a new party candidate which would require him to collect at least 5,201 valid voter signatures between March 27 and June 27. Patton, however, cannot run as an independent.