On May 30, CNN Newsroom did a televised story, lasting approximately two minutes, about how Barack Obama challenged the petitions of all his opponents in his first primary election, for State Senate in Illinois’ 13th district. Four Democrats turned in petitions, but only Obama appeared on the March 19, 1996 primary ballot, because Obama successfully challenged the petitions of all his opponents. CNN also posted the story on its webpage; see here.
The broadcast included an interview with one of Obama’s opponents, Gha-is Askia, who said each candidate needed 757 valid signatures. Askia said he submitted 1,999, but after the challenge, he was 69 signatures short. Another candidate in that primary, the incumbent, Alice Palmer, chose not to be interviewed.
In the general election, Obama had two opponents. The November vote was Obama 48,592 votes; David Whitehead, Harold Washington Party, 7,461 votes; Rosette Peyton, Republican, 3,091 votes. Both the Harold Washington Party and the Republican Party had no candidates in their primaries for the State Senate seat, and each party later nominated a candidate by party meeting, which Illinois law permits for qualified parties. Therefore, Whitehead and Peyton never needed a petition in order to run in November. Thanks to Scott West for the story. The press had previously covered this story, and it was revived in connection with the day’s news about the Democratic Rules Committee meeting on Florida and Michigan delegates.