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After Withdrawal, Eugene Farrell Claims He's Back in the 17th Congressional GOP Primary

Tim Shelley / WCBU
Eugene Farrell of Roseville speaks at a 17th Congressional District Republican candidates' forum 1/25/20 at the Fondulac Library in East Peoria.

A withdrawn Republican candidate for the 17th Congressional District now claims he's back in the race. But the Illinois State Board of Elections says that's not necessarily the case.
Eugene Farrell of Roseville filed his withdrawal notice with the state elections board on January 12. But at a League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria candidates forum in East Peoria on Saturday, he claimed a technicality invalided it.

"My petition requires a wet signature by rule. And therefore, because I turned my withdrawal signature in late, it was denied. And therefore, I am fully a candidate in the 17th Congressional District," he said.

But Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said that's incorrect. He said withdrawals can be accepted after the statutory deadline, and are only rejected if local election officials have already printed ballots with the withdrawn candidate's name.

It wasn't immediately clear if any of the 14 counties covered by the sprawling 17th Congressional District district already printed ballots for the March 17 primary. The district stretches from Rockford in the north to parts of Peoria and Pekin in its southern reaches.

Dietrich said Farrell is considered formally withdrawn by the state elections board.

Republicans Esther Joy King and Bill Fawell are running for the 17th Congressional District seat currently held by Democratic incumbent Cheri Bustos. Spanky Edwards is running a write-in primary bid against Bustos after he was removed from the ballot following a successful petition challenge.