Puerto Ricans clash over mayoral ballot objection

December 3, 2010

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(Chip Mitchell/WBEZ)
Miguel del Valle’s campaign says it has nothing to do with the case.

A skirmish is breaking out between the only Puerto Ricans among 20 candidates for Chicago mayor. Rev. Wilfredo De Jesús’ campaign says it has reason to believe City Clerk Miguel del Valle is behind a mysterious objection to the minister’s nominating papers.

“I’m extremely disappointed that our only challenge is coming from a fellow Latino candidate,” says Billy Ocasio, a De Jesús advisor and former 26th Ward alderman. “It’s even more disappointing when they have no grounds for a credible challenge.”

But Del Valle spokeswoman Alejandra Moran says his campaign has nothing to do with the objection, which challenges thousands of De Jesús’ signatures.

The attorney who filed the objection, Ralanda Webb of west suburban Oak Park, claims she’s not working for any mayoral candidate. Webb, a real-estate specialist, worked in the 1980s as a senior staff member of then-Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan.

Webb says her only client in the case is the objector, her brother Frederick Charles Webb, who was not available for comment Thursday evening. A woman who answered the phone at his Chatham address said he’s a truck driver.

De Jesús leads New Life Covenant Church, one of the world’s largest Assemblies of God congregations. He and Del Valle, a former Illinois state senator, are competing fiercely on the Northwest Side, where both are based.