PEORIA -- Democrat Spanky Edwards has announced he will run as a write-in candidate to represent Illinois' 17th Congressional District after his petition was challenged and he was kicked off the ballot.
Edwards will face U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, in the March 17 primary election.
The Illinois State Board of Elections voted Jan. 9 to remove Edwards for lacking a sufficient number of signatures on his nominating petition.
"By removing voters' signatures from (the) petition because voters moved to another location within that same district is not only an undemocratic form of voter suppression, it’s also classist," Edwards said in a release. "Poor and unwealthy people have higher mobility rates, meaning they move often and required re-register as often as they move."
Edwards is president of the Peoria Chapter of the ACLU and chairman of the Youth Works Committee of the Illinois NAACP. He also is former president of the Peoria Youth Advisory Commission.
Edwards graduated from Morehouse College in 2014. He is an educator with Peoria Public School District 150.
Edwards supports Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, better federal funding for historically black colleges and universities and an expansion of Social Security.
Bustos, first elected in 2012, is in her fourth term. She is the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
According to the Federal Election Commission fourth-quarter report of 2019, Bustos currently has more than $3 million cash on hand.
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