CALUMET CITY, IL. (ECWd) -
Thaddeus Jones is positioned to become the first African American Mayor in the 120-year history of Calumet City, Illinois.
After a lengthy court battle, the Illinois Supreme Court has determined that Thaddeus Jones can have his name placed on the April 2021 ballot for election to the office of Mayor of Calumet City despite the November 2020 Referendum, which was not in effect at the time his nomination papers were filed.
Jones won the Democrat Primary for Mayor held in Feb 2021.
- Nov 3, 2020, Election Day: Referendum was voted on to restrict eligibility to run for election to Calumet City Mayor
- Nov 16, 2020, Thaddeus Jones filed his nomination papers for the consolidated primary seeking the office of mayor of Calumet City (he was at that time an Illinois State Representative, and was also reelected for another term as State Representative)
- Nov 24, 2020, the election was certified that the Referendum PASSED 68% to 32%
- Nov 25, 2020, two people filed Objections to the Nomination papers of Thaddeus Jones alleging that he was not qualified to seek the office of mayor at the time he filed his nomination paperwork because of the passage of the Ballot Referendum
- The Calumet City Electoral Board agreed with the Objectors and ordered his name NOT placed on the consolidated primary ballot for Feb 23, 2021
- Jones appealed for judicial review to the Circuit Court, who agreed with the Electoral Board, and issued an agreed order placing his name on the ballot with all of his votes being impounded or suppressed
- Jones Appealed to the Appellate Court who summarily reversed the Electoral Board and ordered Jones' name placed on the Feb 23 ballot
- Objectors and the Board appealed that decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, which reversed the Electoral Board's decision with their own 6-page decision published on March 11, 2021.
"The referendum became effective on November 24, 2020, the date the election was certified. Because Jones filed his nomination papers on November 16, 2020, he was legally qualified to run for mayor at that time. We, therefore, reverse the Board’s decision that his nomination papers were defective at that time. We likewise vacate the stay of the appellate court’s judgment and reverse the circuit court’s agreed order impounding the votes for Jones."
The Referendum question was as follows, emphasis ours:
“Shall the Municipal Code of the City of Calumet City, Cook County, Illinois be amended to adopt and incorporate the following requirement applicable to all persons seeking nomination or election to, or who hold, the office of Mayor of the City of Calumet City at the February 23, 2021 Consolidated Primary Election and each election thereafter: No person shall be eligible to seek nomination or election to, or to hold, the office of Mayor of the City of Calumet City if, at the time for filing nomination papers, that person also holds an elected, paid office created by the Constitution of the State of Illinois?”
Since the Referendum was not valid until AFTER Jones' nomination papers were filed, his name is on the ballot, and we believe Calumet City will lose in any further attempts at keeping him from assuming office should he win the April 2021 election.
CapitolFax is reporting that the Calumet City attorney is saying the issue is not clear if Jones can be sworn in if he wins the April 6 general election and retains his position as State Representative. We disagree and suggest the language of the Referendum speaks for itself in that it only prohibits a person from seeking nomination if "AT THE TIME FOR FILING NOMINATION PAPERS" . . . (during a time in which this Referendum is actually valid and enforceable) - and the Supreme Court has said it was not enforceable when Jones' nomination papers were filed.
Thaddeus Jones responded to our request for comment by stating:
"Thank you to the Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court for its ruling today in confirming my victory as Mayor of Calumet City. This ruling ends the nearly eight-year struggle with Calumet City's efforts to stop me from running for Mayor of Calumet City.
The City exhausted nearly $7.8 million dollars of taxpayer funds with fake ballot measure after fake ballot measure that was put before the voters in this fight.
Ultimately, the voters spoke on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, and the message was clear-they wanted a change in leadership in Calumet City.
The results of the elections in Calumet City are clear, I have won the Democratic nomination to become the first African American Mayor in the 120-year history of Calumet City!
I want to thank the voters of Calumet City for believing in me and for wanting a new direction for Calumet City. I want to thank my family and friends for their loyalty and support. My wife Saprina and sons Thaddeus Jr and Preston Jones.
I also want to thank Speaker Chris Welch, Senator Napoleon Harris, and Rep Rita Mayfield who played an enormous part in this election.
Today, it is time to get to work on behalf of all residents of Calumet City." Jones received an estimated 1655 (54%) votes out of the 3,029 ballots cast and the Mayor received 1,374 votes."