Maneuvering galore in GOP primary to face Foster

More drama among Republicans in Rep. Bill Foster’s (D-Ill.) district.

The Feb. 2 primary is now down to attorney Ethan Hastert and state Sen. Randy Hultgren, after three candidates dropped out of the race in the last week.

Businessman Jim Purcell dropped out Thursday, saying he didn’t want Hastert to win. Then, Tuesday morning, former Defense Department employee Mark Vargas said he would drop out and endorse Hastert. And now Hultgren’s campaign has announced first-time candidate Jeff Danklefsen will be taking his name off the ballot as well (and ostensibly backing Hultgren).

What’s more, Hultgren’s campaign is now putting pressure on Vargas to make sure he removes his name from the ballot. The campaign just sent a public letter to Vargas providing him the information he needs to file for removal by the deadline of close of business Wednesday. It is complete with a blank copy of the document he must file.

Vargas endorsed Hastert, but Hultgren’s campaign believes he might remain on the ballot in order to split up the non-Hastert vote. Hastert, the son of former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), is seen as the frontrunner in the race.

A copy of the letter is below:

Mr. Vargas:

On behalf of Randy Hultgren, I want to thank you for your willingness to step up and run for public office. Randy did try to reach you on your cell phone in the last hour, but, the call was sent to voicemail.

In light of your decision to terminate your candidacy, the State Board of Elections has confirmed they can still remove your name from the ballot, as long as they receive form P-25 by close of business tomorrow. In an attempt to unify the Republican Party, Jeff Danklefsen is removing his name from the ballot as well.

Ken Menzel at the State Board of Elections in Chicago has confirmed this information, and if you have any questions you may reach him at 312.(redacted).

I hope you'll take this opportunity to get a signed and notarized copy of form P-25 to the State Board of Elections at 1000 West Randolph. Suite 14-100 in Chicago by close of business tomorrow, to truly offer the party the unity you spoke of.

In light of the inclement weather we expect tomorrow, we would appreciate your efforts to ensure this document is filed on-time.  Many thanks, again, for your dedication to the democratic process and commitment to our Party.

Sincerely,

John Cooney

Campaign Manager

Randy Hultgren for Congress