Stevenson Quits as Nominee, Plans Independent Race
Adlai E. Stevenson III resigned Wednesday as the Democratic nominee for governor and sued for the right to run as an independent, making good his vow not to accept a disciple of Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. as a running mate.
Bob Benjamin, Stevenson’s press secretary, confirmed that the candidate had sent a resignation letter to the Illinois Board of Elections.
“Stevenson is reaffirming that he will not run with a Lyndon LaRouche extremist,” Benjamin said. “That’s it, he has resigned.”
LaRouche candidate Mark J. Fairchild won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in the March 18 primary, defeating Stevenson’s running mate, state Sen. George Sangmeister. State law requires nominees for governor and lieutenant governor to run together in the general election.
Seeking Fourth Term
Stevenson is seeking to unseat Republican Gov. James R. Thompson, who is running for a record fourth term. Thompson edged Stevenson in 1982 in the closest gubernatorial race in Illinois history.
The former U.S. senator said he finds the views of LaRouche supporters “abhorrent, racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Democratic and irrational,” Benjamin said.
Cannot Rescind Move
The Elections Board received a copy of Stevenson’s resignation letter and filed it Wednesday, said Kel Hudson, associate director of the board. He said Stevenson cannot rescind the move.
In a suit filed Wednesday against the Elections Board, Stevenson asked the U.S. District Court to clear the way for an independent candidacy by striking down a provision of state law requiring independents in this year’s election to have filed nominating petitions by Dec. 16, Benjamin said.
Wants Same Deadline
Stevenson wants the deadline for independent filings to be the same as that for third-party candidates, Aug. 4, Benjamin said.
If he wins the suit, Stevenson will run with candidates for lieutenant governor and secretary of state, Benjamin said. He will ask Democrats to vote the regular Democratic ticket, except in those three races, the aide said.
Another LaRouche follower, Janice Hart, won the party nomination for secretary of state.
A. L. Zimmer, general counsel for the Elections Board, said it was not clear whether the Democratic Party would have to replace Stevenson on the ticket.
“It’s probably going to get more confused before it simplifies itself,” he said.