The race to unseat sitting 28th Ward alderman Jason C. Ervin has effectively ended now that each of Ervin’s seven challengers has been removed from the ballot. All of the candidates were challenged by Emma Jean Robinson, a one-time chief of staff for former 28th Ward alderman Ed Smith, Ervin’s predecessor and mentor.
According to DNAinfo Chicago, Robinson, who records show is rather prolific at filing objections, “was also paid $11,000 in 2011 as a consultant and to provide meals to Ervin’s campaign, state records show.”
In 2007, DNAinfo reports, Robinson challenged as many 28th ward candidates as she did this election cycle, ultimately knocking two of them off the ballot. Apparently, Robinson’s 100 percent success rate is much higher than the norm.
“In 2007 and 2011 races, the percentage of candidates who were successfully knocked off the ballot was 28 to 29 percent,” according to a DNAinfo reading of AlderTrack data.
Elliot Thomas and Willie McGill were the first candidates to be removed by Robinson. Both were cast off the ballot in December—Thomas because his circulators’ affidavits weren’t notarized and McGill because of insufficient signatures.
The cases of the other five—Jasmine Jackson, Tammie Vinson, Alex M. Lyons, Marseil Jackson and William Siegmund—were pending as of December 29, 2014. According to a January 9, 2015, Board of Election hearing schedule, however, all were effectively off the ballot—each of them removed due to invalid signatures, according to the hearing schedule.
“Ervin’s decision to challenge every opponent’s petitions shows a contempt for the voices of the people he is supposed to represent, the people who by the thousands signed petitions to have a free and open debate about our ward and city’s future,” wrote then-candidate Tammie Vinson, a special education teacher, in a statement posted to her campaign website in December.
Ervin, a former aide to 27-year-alderman Ed Smith, was appointed to fill Smith’s seat that he gave up in 2011. He was elected to serve a full term of his own in that position just a month later. Attempts to contact Ervin were unsuccessful as of press time.
Ervin sits on eight committees in City Hall, including finance, budget and government, and human relations, for which he serves as vice chair, according to his website.
“Economic development, safety for children and working families” are his top legislative priorities, his website notes.