Final House primary totals delayed until April
Emanuel ''Chris'' Welch, a Democratic candidate to represent the 7th District in the Illinois House, talks to supporters at Luigi's Restaurant in Berkeley. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 10, 2012 8:18PM
The Democratic nominee for state representative in the 7th District will not be named until at least April 3, according to county officials.
Fifteen votes currently separate Rory Hoskins from Emanuel “Chris” Welch in the too-close-to-call Democratic primary. There was no candidate in the Republican primary March 20.
After 11,875 votes cast, Welch was leading, but the final call hinges on 66 provisional ballots and an expected 114 mail ballots yet to be counted.
“We have until April 3 to certify the election results,” said Courtney Greve, a spokeswoman for Cook County Clerk David Orr.
For the first time this election, any registered voter could request a mail ballot, including military personnel. The only requirement is that the mail ballots be received by April 3 and be postmarked no later than March 19.
How many mail ballots will actually be cast is uncertain.
“We never get them all back,” Greve said.
Attention is turning to assessing the 66 provisional ballots, or votes cast under questionable circumstances, usually involving uncertainty of the voter’s address or registration status.
“We need to verify whether or not each ballot should have been cast,” Greve said.
Reactions from the candidates last week was tepid.
“It’s just too close to call,” Welch said from his campaign party in Berkeley.
He told supporters that his attorney was on his way downtown to make sure that all the votes were accounted for and tallied correctly. He did not rule out a challenge to the results if they did not go his way.
“We worked really hard, and I feel really good about the position we are in,” Welch said. “We are going to win this thing when all the votes are counted.”
Welch pointed the finger at his political opponents Hoskins along with Beyonca Johnson and Princess Dempsey, who ran a distant third and fourth.
“I think it (the race) was close because of the negative campaign my opposition ran,” Welch said. “I had three opponents constantly going negative on me. No matter how much money we spent, it takes more and more to combat all of that negativity.”
“At the end of the day the people heard our message,” he said. “That negativity didn’t resonate completely with them.”
Welch had more than $91,000 in his campaign fund, while Hoskins had $20,600, Johnson had $8,500 and Dempsey had $8,100, according to the State Board of Elections. Those financial disclosures did not include receipts for the first quarter of this year, which will be declared in April.
Hoskins, surrounded by supporters last week in Forest Park, noted the inequity in campaign funding.
“We all worked hard, and we were outspent 10 to 1,” he said.
“Regardless of what happens ... there are strong people here who can put together a campaign,” Hoskins said.