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"I don't expect Daley to stay on the ballot," boasted mayoral candidate William "Dock" Walls to the Sun-Times in December, after filing the first challenge to the mayor's nominating petitions since 1989. Walls claimed that his supporters had found problems with up to 19,000 of Daley's signatures, leaving him with fewer than the 12,500 required to stay on the ballot. Last week election officials decided to examine a sampling of about 1,200 signatures. The hearing is tomorrow.
If you're familiar with Walls at all, you've probably seen his name accompanied by the phrase "former aide to Harold Washington." That's not exactly magic dust. According to Fire on the Prairie, the account of the Washington years by former Reader staff writer Gary Rivlin, Walls was a gofer: "the man who took care of the tab, for instance, when Washington and a few aides stopped off for lunch -- and then handled his schedule for his first couple years in office. Washington grew frustrated with Walls's propensity for passing himself off as more important than he was, and fired him in 1985."
Here's what Walls told Reader contributor Mick Dumke recently when asked about
being fired by parting ways with Washington: "At 25, I was considered one of the most influential people in the city. At 29, I was considered too influential. Everything flowed through me, and everyone was jealous. . . . I did my job too well."
In 1987, when Walls ran for city clerk, he was trounced in the primary by Gloria Chevere (a deputy commissioner under Washington, now a subcircuit court judge deemed unqualified by all Illinois' bar associations). In 2003 he tried to run again, but incumbent James Laski (currently in prison on corruption charges) successfully challenged his nominating petitions and he was stricken from the ballot. Now Walls is taking a trick from the pros.
Does he stand a chance? I doubt it. But lotsa luck, Dock.