(Ill. Senate Race) Niecestro Says 'Flake' Denied Him Petition Signatures

-By Warner Todd Huston

Conservative businessman Mike Niecestro has been making noise about running for the U.S. Senate against GOP candidate Mark Kirk for at least a year. Even just a few weeks ago he amped up his noise machine to say that he had the ballot petition signatures needed to make a run for the office as an independent.

But yesterday the filing time came and no Niecestro papers were to be seen. He told reporters that one of the operatives that promised him thousands of signatures didn’t even get him a single one. ABC’s Charles Thomas reports that Niecestro said the politician in question is “known as a ‘flake’ in GOP circles.”

This quote raises major concerns about the seriousness of a Niecestro campaign. If Niecestro knew the guy he was relying on to put him over the top in petition signatures was a well-known “flake,” then why did Niecestro rely on him in the first place? If Niecestro was putting all his eggs in a “flake’s” basket, this seriously calls into doubt Niecestro’s planning capabilities, doesn’t it?

As Charles Thomas says, this is good news for center left Republican Mark Kirk. More good news came with the fact that Constitution Party candidate Randy Stufflebeam only turned in 34,000 signatures, likely not enough to beat the inevitable petition challenges he’s bound to face. The rule of thumb is to have at least twice the 25,000 signatures required to get your name on the ballot.

Granted all petitions are assumed valid unless challenged, even if they don’t have enough signatures. If no one challenges, then the petition stands. And that has happened about never in Illinois’ rough and tumble political scene.

At this point it seems unlikely that conservatives and conservative Republicans will have an alternative to Mark Kirk on the 2010 ballot. There is an outside chance that Stufflebeam will squeak through, but not much of one.

Still, there are a passel full of candidates that filed their petitions, 11 in all. Here’s the list:

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