Presidential delegates vex voters in March primary

Are you dreading all the judicial choices on the primary election ballot?

Wait till you see the convention delegates.

In Chicago's March 15 primary election, 111 people are running for 42 Democratic positions. And the Republican slate is equally large.

You'll get to vote for more than one—perhaps (depending on where you live) nine or ten. And many have names that—like the judge candidates you'll face—you've never seen nor heard.

Here's what's going on:

This summer, delegates of both the Democratic and Republican parties will hold conventions to choose the candidates who'll run in the November presidential election.

The delegates are chosen in each state, using methods devised by both state and national party officials. In Illinois, both the Democrats and Republicans are using the March primary election to help choose delegates.

To become a delegate, a registered voter (and party loyalist) would have had to file nominating petitions with the state by January 8. Party officials, though, got final say about who actually appears on the ballot.

Also appearing on the ballot: a declaration (or "pledge") by each delegate candidate as to which presidential candidate they support.

According to party documents, Illinois will send 181 (plus 13 alternate) Democratic delegates and 69 (plus 66 alternate) Republican delegates to the respective nominating conventions.

The delegate candidates run in each of the state's 18 Congressional districts—six of which include Chicago. That's the easy part; the method used to process candidate votes, at least for the Democrats, is much less simple.

In the Democratic party, choosing the winners among delegate candidates depends on more than how many votes they get. It also depends on how many votes their declared candidate receives in each district—and on achieving an equal number of males and females. (The party's rules don't address gender neutrality.)

So, who are these people?

The state board of elections tells us only the candidates' home addresses. But, in Chicago, some of them are well-known public figures, including:

  • Members of the Chicago city council
  • Members of the Cook County board of commissioners
  • State legislators
  • City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools officials

For better or worse, Chicago voters will find no comprehensive guide to delegate candidates.

And as if that's not enough uncertainty, there's this: Although each delegate is pledged to one presidential candidate, nothing obligates them to actually back that candidate at the nominating convention.

Chicago candidates for delegate to the Democratic national nominating convention (with declared presidential candidates)

Source: Chicago Board of Election Commissioners

1st Congressional district (22 candidates, vote for 9)

Jacqueline Collins (Clinton)

David Moore (Clinton)

Barbara Flynn Currie (Clinton)

Kwame Raoul (Clinton)

Mary E. Flowers (Clinton)

Roderick T. Sawyer (Clinton)

Toni Preckwinkle (Clinton)

Kurt Summers (Clinton)

Carolyn Rush (Clinton)

Rochelle Y. O'Neal (O'Malley)

Hedy Gist-Ellison (O'Malley)

Joseph Wheeler (O'Malley)

Tyler Kissinger (Sanders)

Adriana Sanchez (Sanders)

William K. Crosby (Sanders)

Brendan Houlihan (Sanders)

Tim Gaffney (Sanders)

Patricia Guinn (Sanders)

Vernita Farmer (Sanders)

Brenda J. Malone (Sanders)

Theresa McCulley (Sanders)

Kenzo Emiliano Esquivel (Sanders)

2nd Congressional district (19 candidates, vote for 8)

Timothy "Tim" Bradford (Clinton)

Lisa Dugan (Clinton)

Jaylin Davon McClinton (Clinton)

Leslie Hairston (Clinton)

Al Riley (Clinton)

Toi W. Hutchinson (Clinton)

Frank M. Zuccarelli (Clinton)

Donna Miller (Clinton)

Michael Holmes (O'Malley)

James Patton (O'Malley)

Gregory Washington (O'Malley)

Kenneth Franklin (Sanders)

Linda Jennings (Sanders)

Tanya Watkins (Sanders)

John A. Willard (Sanders)

Ndidi A. Okakpu (Sanders)

Carl Camacho (Sanders)

Laura M. Ortega (Sanders)

Susan Sadlowski Garza (Sanders)

3rd Congressional district (15 candidates, vote for 5)

Colleen Patricia Burns (Clinton)

Michael E. Hastings (Clinton)

Clarisol Duque (Clinton)

Jorge Ramirez (Clinton)

Shirley Madigan (Clinton)

Josephine Singler (O'Malley)

Nancy Heskin Jados (O'Malley)

Edward D. Maloney (O'Malley)

David B. Maher (O'Malley)

Matthew Lafond (O'Malley)

Nathaniel Harris (Sanders)

Rebecca Davies (Sanders)

Daniel Buys (Sanders)

Myriam Calvache (Sanders)

Maureen Sullivan (Sanders)

4th Congressional district (13 candidates, vote for 5)

Soraida Gutierrez (Clinton)

Raymond A. Lopez (Clinton)

Milly Santiago (Clinton)

Vicente "Vince" Sanchez, Jr. (Clinton)

Emanuel "Chris" Welch (Clinton)

Barbara P. Guttmann (O'Malley)

Richard Gutierrez (O'Malley)

Will Guzzardi (Sanders)

Andrea Perkins (Sanders)

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (Sanders)

Shana East (Sanders)

Álvaro R. Obregón (Sanders)

Melissa Rubio (Sanders)

5th Congressional district (16 candidates, vote for 6)

Sara Feigenholtz (Clinton)

Rocco J. Claps (Clinton)

Bridget Gainer (Clinton)

Patrick Croke (Clinton)

Jan Kallish (Clinton)

Proco Joseph Moreno (Clinton)

Angelique Hardy Heinz (O'Malley)

Joseph Enright (O'Malley)

Noel Chambers (O'Malley)

Vittorio Gomez (O'Malley)

John S. Arena (Sanders)

Rebecca Abraham (Sanders)

Simone Rowen (Sanders)

Troy A. LaRaviere (Sanders)

Laura Sabransky (Sanders)

William J. Perry (Sanders)

7th Congressional district (26 candidates, vote for 9)

Ira Acree (Clinton)

Mattie Hunter (Clinton)

James F. Coyne (Clinton)

Emma M. Mitts (Clinton)

Larry Rogers, Jr. (Clinton)

Eileen Kay Rhodes (Clinton)

Michael Scott Jr. (Clinton)

Anna Valencia (Clinton)

John A. West (Clinton)

Tumia Romero (O'Malley)

Tierra S. Jackson (O'Malley)

Peggy A. Roth (O'Malley)

Katrina Veerhusen (O'Malley)

Anne Conderacci (O'Malley)

Michael K. Forde (O'Malley)

Joshua Sam Lapidus (O'Malley)

Hugh R. McCombs (O'Malley)

La Shawn K. Ford (Sanders)

Robert J. Peters (Sanders)

Melissa Parks (Sanders)

Robert Angert George (Sanders)

Martin Ritter (Sanders)

Jan Rodolfo (Sanders)

Willie Mack (Sanders)

Tara S. Stamps (Sanders)

Brianna Tong (Sanders)