Northwestern alum to run for Illinois House seat

Kimberly Railey

Northwestern alum Jeff Smith (WCAS ’77) will officially appear on the ballot for the 17th District Illinois House seat, he told The Daily on Monday.

Smith said he filed his candidacy at 8 a.m. Monday, the first day nomination papers could be filled and a week earlier than the Dec. 5 deadline. He began circulating petitions Nov. 12 to seek the position, just two days after Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) announced he intended to run for Sen. Jeff Schoenberg’s soon-to-be vacant state Senate seat.

To appear on the ballot, Smith had to collect between 500 and 1500 signatures.

“The theoretical purpose of a petition is to demonstrate community support,” Smith said. “It’s gratifying to know that on such short notice, so many people were willing to step up and support a candidate who represents Evanston’s values.”

Smith added the primary season is a time to gauge the desires of constituents, rather than dictate to party members.

“Candidates spend too much time trying to define their message,” he said. “If they’re doing a good job of listening, the voters will help tell them what they want to see in government,” he said.

Glenview resident Laura Fine has also filed her candidacy for the House seat.

In 2010, Smith was unsuccessful in his effort to seek the 18th District state House seat before redistricting moved his home into the 17th District. He lost in the primary stage in the election.

The primaries will occur on March 20, 2012.

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