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Judge to decide if Naperville mayoral, city council candidates should stay on ballot

A DuPage County judge has been asked to overturn a decision to keep two Naperville candidates on the April ballot.

Naperville resident Arian Ahmadpour sought to have mayoral candidate Tiffany Stephens and city council candidate Derek McDaniel removed from the ballot by objecting to their nominating papers.

But Naperville’s electoral board — consisting of Mayor Steve Chirico, City Clerk Pam Gallahue and Councilman Paul Hinterlong — voted 2-1 last week to reject Ahmadpour’s objections.

Now Ahmadpour wants a judge to reverse the electoral board’s decision. The case is scheduled to be heard Wednesday morning by Judge Craig Belford at the DuPage County courthouse in Wheaton.

Meanwhile, Linda LaCloche, Naperville’s director of communications, says the ballot must be certified by Thursday.

The objection to Stephens’ candidacy was based on her residency. Ahmadpour claimed she hasn’t lived in Naperville for the one-year minimum.

While Chirico and Hinterlong declined the objection, Gallahue dissented.

Reached Tuesday afternoon, Stephens expressed disappointment the issue continues to be pressed.

“It’s really sad that we are taking it to this level,” Stephens said. “I’ve never seen another candidate get attacked like this. I knew I’d make some noise when I announced my candidacy, but I didn’t know I’d make this much noise.”

McDaniel’s candidacy was challenged because of clerical issues with his petition paperwork. Ahmadpour claimed McDaniel violated election rules by not numbering the pages. Gallahue was the lone member of the electoral board to side with the objector.

While acknowledging the clerical error as a first-time candidate, McDaniel said Tuesday he merely wants to serve the community.

“I’m navigating some waters here and making some mistakes along the way, but we’re doing this for the right reasons,” he said. “We’re trying to stay on the ballot so the citizens of Naperville can have a choice.”

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