Last week Rory Hoskins, an incumbent candidate for commissioner, survived the last of three challenges to as many candidates, all of which were filed by local woman Elsie Radtke.

Mayor Anthony Calderone, and Mark Chester and Michael Davies – two attorneys appointed by judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County – formed the electoral board that unanimously voted against Radtke’s challenge. As a result, Hoskins will remain on the ballot for the April 5 municipal election.

The front-and-center issue was whether Hoskins’ failure to pen “Village Commissioner for the Village of Forest Park” on his petition – he wrote “Commissioner” – warranted expulsion from the spring ballot.

Radtke’s attorney, Tiffany Nelson-Jaworski, argued that the wording Hoskins used to identify his desired office could have duped petition signers into believing he was running for “commissioner” of the Park District of Forest Park.

“The ultimate issue here is voter confusion,” Nelson-Jaworski told the board. 

Hoskins’ attorney, Steve Laduzinsky, said Radtke’s objection, and, in effect, Nelson-Jaworski’s argument, were both unclear.

“There is no office, despite what the objector says, that says ‘Village Commissioner,'” said Laduzinsky, in loose reference to the wording of Radtke’s objection. “The ordinance here establishes ‘Commissioner,’ and that is the office that is sought.”

On other words, the office she said Hoskins failed to list – “Village Commissioner of the Village of Forest Park” – does not exist in that precise wording.

As for the issue of confusion over the unit of government, Davies derailed Nelson-Jaworski’s argument.

“You got to admit, it says ‘Unit of Government: Village of Forest Park’ up at the top header [of the petition],” he said.

“Yes. It does,” Nelson-Jaworski stammered. “But I don’t think it’s possible to know what the candidate is running for.”

The board was not convinced.

Nelson-Jaworski did successfully contend that one of Hoskins’ petition sheets violated election code because it did not have a date on it. That sheet of signatures was thrown out. 

Just before the board adjourned, it issued a written ruling that stated Hoskins would appear on the ballot in the spring.

“Aye,” the trio sounded unanimously.

“I’m pleased with the results,” said Hoskins, speaking on the phone with the Forest Park Review after the hearing. “But it just means that I have to keep on

Hoskins will stay on the ballot, unlike bus driver Connie Custardo and retail merchant Jon Kubricht, whose candidacies were revoked, subsequent to challenges also filed by Radtke.

In the Hoskins challenge, as well as the other two, Radtke’s attorneys withdrew several objections. Attorney Kerri-Lyn Krafthefer represented Radtke for the Custardo and Kubricht cases.

Many of the objections Hoskins faced alleged that there were problems with his paperwork, whereas candidate Jon Kubricht, for example, was initially accused of the more serious charge of forgery though that charge was later withdrawn. 

Nelson-Jaworski said some of the objections to Hoskins were withdrawn because they weren’t “as good” as those that were argued.

“I still believe there is a potential for voter confusion,” said Nelson-Jaworski in a phone conversation with the Review several days after the hearing. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have argued the case.”

Radtke – who is the mother of Tom Mannix, another candidate for commissioner – refused to comment on the Hoskins ruling, but she told the Review several weeks ago that she is tired of “incompetent” board members.

Presently, there are 13 people in the race: two mayoral candidates and 11 who are running for commissioner.