Stevenson Will Bolt Ticket to Avoid LaRouche Backers

Times Staff Writers

Still reeling from the primary victories of Lyndon LaRouche supporters last week, Illinois’ Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Adlai E. Stevenson III, said Thursday that he will bolt the party ticket and run as an independent.

To do that, Stevenson said, he plans to go to court or seek legislation to change Illinois election laws, under which independent candidates must have filed by last December.

If he fails to win the right to run as an independent, Stevenson said, he will run as a third-party candidate.


“We are announcing emphatically and unequivocally that we cannot and will not run with these bizarre extremists,” said a printed statement endorsed by Stevenson, Sen. Alan J. Dixon, Atty. Gen. Neil Hartigan and the rest of the Democratic state ticket.

“We explored the option of resigning from the Democratic line en masse and forming a new line on the ballot with every true Democratic candidate,” the statement continued. “But the legal and logistical barriers to such a move are prohibitive.”

The Stevenson proposal would require voters to split their ballots, “but that is a small price for a message that our Democratic Party is united . . . against the madness of Lyndon LaRouche and his small band of neo-Nazis,” the statement said.

Thursday’s announcement was designed to distance the Democratic Party from the candidacies of Mark Fairchild and Janice Hart, supporters of the ultraconservative LaRouche. Their nominations in the March 18 primary stunned Illinois Democrats and disrupted their plans for the November general election.

Fairchild, a 28-year-old former electrical engineer, defeated Stevenson’s hand-picked lieutenant governor candidate, state Sen. George Sangmeister. Hart defeated Aurelia Pucinski for the secretary of state nomination.

Under Illinois law, each party’s gubernatorial and lieutenant governor nominees must run as a team. But Stevenson announced a day after the primary that he would under no circumstances run on the same ticket with the LaRouche supporter.


Other Candidates Balk

Stevenson’s decision Thursday was a compromise. It was reported that his first choice had been to form a third party and invite the entire party slate to join him. But Dixon and Hartigan, the state’s two leading vote-getters, balked.

Illinois has a history of split-ticket voting. In fact, when Stevenson was elected state treasurer in 1966, he was the only Democrat to win during a Republican Party sweep of the general election.

The LaRouche victories were a blow to Stevenson’s gubernatorial campaign, which many political observers thought had an excellent chance of unseating the incumbent Republican, Gov. James R. Thompson, who defeated Stevenson by only 5,000 votes in 1982.

But Stevenson’s aides said Thursday they were optimistic that the setback could be turned into an opportunity.

Publicity Cited

“If Adlai Stevenson had walked down State Street on his hands, he wouldn’t have gotten this much attention,” Bob Benjamin, a Stevenson spokesman, said. “That attention is like raw material. We can use it to our advantage.”

Benjamin said that Stevenson has until Aug. 4, the deadline for filing as a third-party candidate, to leave the Democratic ticket.


“There’s no rush about that,” Benjamin said. “In the meantime, there is an outside chance--a mathematical possibility really-- that these LaRouche people might be removed from the ballot.”

Meanwhile, the Illinois Appellate Court on Thursday delayed until next week a decision on whether the election of a city councilman allied with Mayor Harold Washington should be certified. The election of Luis V. Gutierrez in the 26th aldermanic ward is being challenged by Manuel A. Torres, who lost by 20 votes in the unofficial count.