February 27, 2018-The Lake County Board of Elections and Registration heard challenges to a slew of candidates today. Most of the challenges were brought against new, non-establishment candidates. 11 precinct candidates from Hammond were removed from the race. According to sources, most of the 11 candidates petitions were brought in by Hammond Council Member Anthony Higgs. The challenges to the precinct positions revolved primarily around whether they had a history of voting Democrat in the primary. A precinct position is a party position and Indiana Law requires either that the candidate voted Democratic in past primaries or that the Party Chair certify that the candidate is a democrat. Ten of the challenged candidates had neither the requisite voting history nor the certification of Party Chair Jim Wieser. Wieser had filed the 11 challenges. In the 11th case, Hammond resident Chuck Rocek admitted that he mistakenly filed in the wrong precinct. Rocek asked the Election Board to amend his filing to allow him to file in the wrong position. Republican Representative Dana Dumezich said that was not possible because the filing deadline has passed.
The Election Board also removed Catherine Campbell from the race. Campbell sought to run for County Council in the 2nd District. The seat is currently held by Elsie Franklin, who is seeking re-election. The Challenge was brought by Jeremy Yancey who is also a candidate for the seat. Yancey was represented by Alfredo Estrada who also represented Lake County Democratic Chair Jim Wieser at the hearing. On a motion seconded by Lake County Clerk Mike Brown, the Board found that Campbell failed to properly fill out her campaign statement and struck her from the ballot. Notably, Brown was not even in the room for most of the argument regarding Campbell’s challenge. Brown apparently had his Orders to push the challenge forward and he carried them out despite not being interested to even listen to the arguments. Brown is seeking the office of Lake County Sheriff and it should be noted that the Election Board is a quasi-judicial role. The fact that Lake County Clerk Mike Brown cannot even be bothered to listen to the arguments in a case but sees fit to second the Motion to throw someone off the ballot seems to be extremely relevant to how he might act as the highest law enforcement officer in Lake County.
The Board denied challenges to incumbents Christine Cid and David Hamm based an allegations of irregularities in prior campaign finance reports. We hope to have more an these challenges as well as the challenges to North Township Candidates, all of which were filed by candidate Peter Katic and all of which were denied, later today.