Kaegi unfazed by third candidate on ballot

Raila's name will appear despite court ruling against her candidacy

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

During a recent interview in nearby Maywood, Fritz Kaegi — the Oak Park mutual funds asset manager running against Joe Berrios for Cook County Assessor — said he isn't that concerned about the name of a third candidate appearing on the March 20 primary election ballot.

An electoral board invalidated the candidacy of Andrea Raila last month because her nominating petitions showed a pattern of fraud, according to the board's ruling, which a Cook County judge later upheld.

The decision, however, was not made in time enough to physically remove Raila's name from printed ballots and electronic voting machines. Kaegi said that he doesn't think it will make a "significant difference."

"Votes for this candidate will not be counted," Kaegi said. "The circuit court has reiterated the unanimous decision of the election board. People will receive notification that votes for this person will not be counted."

County election officials have said that they'll try to get the word out about Raila's invalidated candidacy by way of newspapers and even TV ads, but a series of polls conducted last month show that the inclusion of Raila's name could present some problems if voters aren't adequately informed. 

Two polls showed Kaegi up by double digits over Berrios, but in at least one of those polls, Kaegi's lead dwindled sharply when a third candidate, Andrea Raila, was included. 

What's more, the number of undecided voters in those polls is large enough that the race, at this point, might reasonably be characterized as a toss-up. 

The race to succeed retiring Cook County Clerk David Orr features a similar dynamic. Technically, Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough is the only valid candidate on the ballot; however, the name of Jan Kowalski McDonald — whose candidacy was invalidated because of what an electoral board ruled were faulty petitions — will still appear. 

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com 

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