-By Warner Todd Huston
Last week after candidate petitions were turned in to the Sec. of State, David McSweeney, who is running to unseat incumbent Republican Kent Gaffney, announced that he was going to challenge the petitions of both Gaffney and the third Republican candidate in the 52nd District, Danielle Rowe.
McSweeney made some pretty hefty charges and, backed up by heavy hitting attorney Richard Means, stands to be either proven correct or shown to be a bit of a knave, I have to say.
The charges McSweeney made are that Gaffney used state workers who were on the clock to pass around his petitions. Then, when it came time to sign the name of the person that actually passed the petition, Gaffney had other people claim they were the operatives that did that work. If this is all true it is a crime under Illinois election laws.
As I said in my previous report, this would have to be arrogance or stupidity on Gaffney’s part if he actually did this. And if GOP House leader Tom Cross knew about it — Cross is Gaffney’s close sponsor — then we have quite a scandal, here.
One of the things that amazed me about this was that Gaffney had yet to make a statement about the accusation even though it has been out there several days. I’ve talked to a few well placed insiders and they say that this whole thing is a joke, that McSweeney really has no evidence at all. We haven’t seen any, anyway. Just McSweeney’s announcement that he has some.
In any case I am in receipt of a statement from Gaffney on this business. It’s a full denial, of course.
“This is a phony objection by the McSweeney campaign that lacks any supporting evidence. These reckless allegations are made without any supporting affidavits or statements.”
“I am confident that the Illinois State Board of Elections will find no merit in these reckless claims.”
So, the gauntlet is thrown down, now. McSweeney has either to fully prove his charges or find his reputation seriously damaged, I think.