Del Valle has big stake in election board hearing

December 27, 2010

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(WBEZ/Charlie Billups)
De Jesus heads one of the city’s largest congregations.

Chicago mayoral hopeful Miguel del Valle has decent name recognition after serving four years as city clerk and, earlier, two decades as an Illinois state senator. He’s winning support in the race from some progressive activists.

But he’s got a problem closer to home. Del Valle could lose thousands of Puerto Rican votes to the pastor of a huge Northwest Side congregation. That pastor is Wilfredo De Jesus of New Life Covenant Church.

Del Valle’s campaign says it won’t comment on an effort to knock De Jesus off the February ballot. That’s after denying any ties to the effort, then acknowledging some.

An objection to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners claims thousands of De Jesus’ nominating signatures are invalid. The objection goes before hearing officer Rodney W. Stewart on Monday afternoon.

The attorney who filed the objection, Ralanda Webb of Oak Park, claimed she’s not working for any candidate. Webb, a real-estate specialist, worked in the 1980s as a senior staff member of Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan. The objector is her brother Frederick Charles Webb, a truck driver who lives in Chatham.