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05/08/89 Joseph J. Mccarthy Et Al., v. Robert Streit

May 8, 1989

JOSEPH J. MCCARTHY ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS

v.

ROBERT STREIT, INDIV. AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS WORTH

TOWNSHIP REPUBLICAN COMMITTEEMAN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES. -- JOSEPH DONAHUE ET AL., PETITIONERS-APPELLANTS

v.

RAYMOND F. MURPHY ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES (RAYMOND F. MURPHY ET AL., CROSS-PETITIONERS AND APPELLEES; JOSEPH J. MCCARTHY ET AL., CROSS-RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS; RAY HEASTER ET AL., CROSS-RESPONDENTS). -- ROBERT J. STREIT ET AL., PETITIONERS-APPELLEES,

v.

ARTHUR BLISS, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT (WORTH TOWNSHIP ELECTORAL BOARD ET



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

al., Respondents)

Nos. 1-89-0127, 1-89-0705, 1-89-0706 consolidated

538 N.E.2d 873, 182 Ill. App. 3d 1026, 131 Ill. Dec. 498 1989.IL.695

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Curtis Heaston, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. BUCKLEY and QUINLAN, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR

These consolidated appeals arose from events occurring at a Republican Party caucus held in Worth Township (the Township) on January 10, 1989, and concerning the April 4, 1989, Township elections. By the trial court's order in No. 89-CO-77, petitioners Robert J. Streit, Kevin J. Morgan, Joseph A. Murray, Marvin C. James, Michael R. Davies, Russell J. Miller, Kathleen M. Spencer and Harry A. Dinaso (the Streit Slate) were ordered to be placed on the ballot as the Republican candidates for various Worth Township offices to be elected in the April 4, 1989, election. The effect of that order was to deny a place on the ballot to a slate of Republican candidates including Joseph J. McCarthy, Maureen Murphy, Richard Nick Ruggiero, Robert Telander, Roy Heaster and Herb Elzinga (the McCarthy Slate).

The McCarthy Slate having been excluded from the ballot, its candidates then formed a new political party, "The Township Choice Party." Objections were filed to their candidacies on the basis that they had participated in an established political party's caucus and were therefore statutorily precluded from third-party candidacy. By its order in No. 89-CO-62, the trial court ordered that eight of the nine candidates of the Township Choice Party be removed from the ballot.

The following issues are raised on appeal: first, whether the trial court was correct in finding that the first electoral board's decision to strike the certificate of nomination of the Streit Slate created vacancies which could be filled by the Republican committeeman with candidates of his choice, and second, whether the trial court erred in removing five candidates of the Township Choice Party from the ballot. We answer both questions in the affirmative.

A statement of the facts discloses a strange series of events in the Township of Worth's nomination process.

In Illinois, in township elections, an established political party may still nominate by way of party caucuses rather than primary election. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 139, par. 59a.) Pursuant to this section, Republican committeeman Robert Streit chose to nominate candidates by caucus rather than by primary election. The caucus was held on January 16, 1989.

Committeeman Streit presided at the caucus. As previously noted, two slates were nominated, the Streit Slate and the McCarthy Slate. Following the voice vote, permissible under section 6A-1 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 139, par. 59a.1), the caucus Judges declared the Streit Slate the winners. Streit then filed a certificate of nomination naming himself and his running mates the official candidates of the Republican Party.

McCarthy and those on his slate then filed a three-count action in the circuit court of Cook County, McCarthy v. Streit, No. 89-CO-10. Count I sought a declaratory judgment that the caucus was improperly administered and that the McCarthy Slate had won the caucus and an injunction prohibiting Streit from filing the allegedly false certificate of nomination. Count II sought similar injunctive and declaratory relief as well as monetary damages and attorney fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1988. Count III sought a declaratory judgment that the use of a ...


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