Crusader Staff Report
Kevin Bailey, a candidate for alderman of the 20th Ward, has filed documents with the Chicago Board of Elections to challenge nearly all 14 of his opponents in the race.
The candidates seek to replace outgoing incumbent Willie Cochran, who is not running for a fourth term. His decision not to run has left an open field that’s flooded with candidates who are running at a time when major developments in the 20th ward are stirring concerns of gentrification in predominately Black neighborhoods.
Bailey lost to Cochran in a close runoff race in 2015, winning 45 percent of the vote to his opponent grabbing 55 percent. Bailey is viewed as a major contender in the most crowded aldermanic race among all 50 wards. On March 15, 2016, Kevin M. Bailey was elected 20th ward Democratic Committeeman.
Bailey earned his Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He served as the first Black civil engineer for former President Barack Obama’s high-speed rail project, ensuring safe construction and proper allocation of federal funds.
Bailey currently resides in the Washington Park neighborhood in Chicago.
According to the Chicago Board of Elections, Bailey filed objections to challenge the petition signatures of all of his opponents, drawing the ire of some candidates who accuse him of practicing “Chicago machine politics.”
Baley’s opponents include Nicole Johnson, Jeanette B. Taylor, Maya Hodari, Kimetha Hill, Charles Hillard, Clifton Pierce, Sheila R. Scott, Jennifer O. Maddox, Anthony Driver, Jr., Quandra V. Speights, Denard D. Newall, Andre Smith, Cassius Rudolph and Matthew Johnson.
Bailey accuses most of the opponents of obtaining signatures from people who are not registered voters. Bailey also say most of his opponent’s signatures are not “genuine.”
The only opponent Bailey has not challenged is Andre Smith, who came in third behind Bailey in the 2015 city elections.
“He challenged everyone but Andre Smith because I feel he believes he can beat him said Maddox. “And I believe he felt everyone else would fall off if they couldn’t pay the legal fees behind the challenge.”
In his objection to Driver, Bailey alleged that most of the 2,200 signatures Driver has obtained are not registered voters in the ward. Bailey believes his opponent has less than the minimum 473 signatures once they are verified.
Driver disagrees and took offense to Bailey’s objection.
“This is a frivolous challenge,” Driver told the Crusader. “Kevin Bailey is afraid of the competition and this shows how out of touch he is.”
Bailey says many of Taylor’s 2,400 signatures are not “genuine” and alleged that many have been signed by someone else. He also said many of Taylor’s signatures are not registered voters.
A spokesperson for Taylor’s campaign accused Bailey of “trying to stop the democracy process. The community should have the right to hear whose running for the election.”
For this story, Bailey released a statement to the Crusader.
“I filed these objections because it’s part of the democratic process; that in order for a candidate to actually have their name appear on the
ballot they have to legally qualify to be on the ballot and frankly, some of the candidates petitions did not measure up.”
On Sunday, November 25, one day before the deadline for petition signatures, Bailey sent out an email saying, “It’s time to STOP making excuses! While some candidates are focused on winning a political popularity contest, I’m going to tell you the ugly truth because I care about the entire community winning.”
“This is not a matter of a political party; it is a matter of human dignity and a right to live in our community without stress and worry of gentrification, crime, job loss, etc.
“The reality is; White supremacy is on the rise, gun violence is on the rise, while hatred and violence run rampant now more than ever no matter what way you look at it. This is no way to live in the 20th Ward or any other community.
“I’m not running to make history, I am running to make a change. I have a rock solid plan to do this, but I can’t do it by myself. I need your help. I am asking for your support in the upcoming February election.”