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Two candidates withdraw from Norridge Village Board race

The village of Norridge Municipal Officers Electoral Board will remove the names of two candidates for the village board on the April 2 ballot.

During a Jan. 11 hearing, Constadinos “Gus” Rapatas and Joseph Rizzi decided to withdraw their candidacies in the wake of election objections filed by Norridge resident Melissa Poulos.

Rapatas and Rizzi were two of five candidates vying for elected offices as the village board sought to fill three open seats. The two filed their petitions jointly.

Candidates Bill Larson, Donald Gelsomino and Jack Bielak of the Norridge Improvement Party will continue to try their hand at a bid for election. Gelsomino is currently sitting on the village board.

The deadline to file petitions was Dec. 17.

Poulos filed objections to the petitions of Rapatas and Rizzi.

Village Clerk Debra Budnick said both candidates at the proceeding decided to withdraw their candidacies.

“Neither one wanted to go any further with the requirement and will not be running for the open positions,” she said.

The arguments for the objections to Rizzi were raised for not being a registered voter in Norridge. There were also objections to his petition regarding validity, the number of times they had signed, some issues with signatures appearing on petitions for candidates of the Norridge Improvement Party.

Rizzi did not immediately return a request for comment.

The arguments for the objections to Rapatas were based on signatures and names on his petition. Issues arose over the validity of signatures, some of which belonged to invalid voters.

Rapatas said he and Rizzi stand by their decision to run, and they “understood that as independent candidates, with no political party support, that we had a challenge ahead of us.”

Rapatas said they wanted to offer the voters a choice as it regards who they would like to represent them.

“Ultimately, there was an error made,” he said. “We got into this together and were willing to succeed or be defeated together. … We just wanted to be heard.”

The electoral board was comprised of Village President James Chmura, Village Clerk Debra Budnik and Trustee Ursula Kucharski.

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