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Democrat could be knocked off primary ballot

Attorneys Edward Ronkowski left Bryan Kopman confer Monday Dec. 9 2013 before Will County Electoral Board sessicounty office building downtown

Attorneys Edward Ronkowski, left, and Bryan Kopman, confer Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, before a Will County Electoral Board session at the county office building in downtown Joliet. | Cindy Cain~Sun-Times Media.

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Updated: January 11, 2014 6:20AM

JOLIET — Two people have objected to nominating petitions filed by Greg Sage, the lone Democrat who filed to run for Will County clerk in the March 18 primary.

Steve Orlando of Joliet filed an objection on Thursday. And Richard Girot of Braidwood filed a similar objection on Friday. Both objectors claim Sage had only 233 of the 779 petition signatures required by law to get on the ballot.

On Monday morning, the Will County Electoral Board adopted rules to hear the first objection, and the hearing was scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St.

Getting nominating petition signatures was kind of a “last-minute ordeal,” Sage, 41, of Lockport, told The Herald-News in a telephone interview on Monday afternoon. Sage, who did not attend Monday’s electoral board session, said he and his wife just started a new general contracting business.

“Time really isn’t my friend,” he said.

He also said he doesn’t have a political base to work with since he has never run for office before. Sage, who lost his home to a short sale and also his job in recent years, said he wants to run because incumbent Republican Nancy Schultz Voots doesn’t have a challenger.

“I just don’t think there’s anything right about that,” said Sage, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 176. “So I figured I’d run myself.”

While Sage filed as a Democrat, he is unknown to party officials.

“I’ve never talked to him,” said Democratic Party Chairman Scott Pyles. “I’ve never met him and to my knowledge, he’s never been to a central committee meeting.”

Attorneys Edward Ronkowski and Bryan Kopman are representing Orlando in the petition challenge. Ronkowski, who is the Will County Republican Party chairman, said he expects Thursday’s hearing to be short because the objection is not complicated. He also asked that the electoral board hear both objections at the same time.

Girot is represented by attorney Joseph Cernugel. Neither man was at Monday’s electoral board meeting.

The electoral board typically is composed of the county clerk, the circuit clerk and the state’s attorney. But Voots will not participate in this matter because it involves a potential conflict of interest. So the Will County treasurer Steve Weber was supposed to replace her on the panel.

Weber, however, did not make Monday’s initial session on the objection because he was in a continuing education class, said a representative from his office. Weber is expected to be present for Thursday’s hearing.

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