Vivek Ramaswamy Will Be Missing from Illinois’ Republican Primary Ballot

Vivek Ramaswamy Will Be Missing from Illinois’ Republican Primary Ballot

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Speculation mounts on whether the decision was part of his campaign strategy.

As Vivek Ramaswamy races across snowbound Iowa ahead of its Jan. 15 caucus, he appears to have written off the big blue state on the other side of the Mississippi River.

The Ramaswamy campaign confirmed to The Epoch Times that his name will not appear on the Republican presidential preference ballot in Illinois, where the primary will take place on March 19.

That “isn’t news,” Tricia McLaughlin, a senior adviser to the Ramaswamy campaign, told The Epoch Times, adding that the decision had been announced last month.

But after the filing deadline on Jan. 5, 2024, and the state’s ballot certification deadline on Jan. 11, passed, Illinois’s absence from the Ramaswamy campaign looks more strategic—and is sparking more speculation.

Ms. McLaughlin stressed that the state’s percentage of electors who will be at the Republican National Convention in July is negligible.

The Green Papers, an election monitoring website, reports that Illinois will have 64 Republican delegates. Republicans will have a total of 2,429 delegates per the same source, making Illinois’ delegates a little more than 2.6 percent of the national total.

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An Illinois State Board of Elections webpage listing candidates in the upcoming primary does not include Mr. Ramaswamy’s name.

President Joe Biden, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), Marianne Williamson, Ryan Binkley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former President Donald J. Trump, and recent dropout, Chris Christie, are among those listed on the webpage.

It shows that objections are pending against the inclusion of Ms. Haley, President Biden, and former President Trump.

In Illinois, Republicans seeking to appear on the “presidential preference” ballot need between 3,000 and 5,000 signatures. Independent candidates need at least 25,000 signatures.

“It looks like he just wasn’t able to get 3,000 signatures,” Illinois elections lawyer Pericles “Perry” Abbasi told The Epoch Times.

Ms. McLaughlin did not definitively address The Epoch Times’ question about whether the signature barrier accounts for Mr. Ramaswamy’s absence from the Illinois ballot, saying simply that “Illinois is low ROI [return on investment].”

Adam Lowisz, an Illinois Republican voter, said he’s “very disappointed” that Mr. Ramaswamy’s name won’t be on his primary ballot. He told The Epoch Times he is staying neutral on the candidates for now. He said he was unaware Mr. Ramaswamy’s name would not be included.

“I’m hoping all candidates that met the minimum requirements will be on the ballot, and that there will be no legal hurdles keeping them from [that],” Mr. Lowisz said.

Mr. Ramaswamy did get some publicity from his participation in a 2023 town hall in South Shore, a predominantly black neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. The candidate spoke with residents about plans to house migrants in their community, which drew objections from locals concerned about the dilution of the black vote.

“Vivek will be on the ballot in 49 states and all 6 territories and DC,” Ms. McLaughlin stated, in line with a pledge from campaign spokesperson Zach Henry to The Epoch Times.

Republican presidential candidate Ryan Binkley speaks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Republican presidential candidate Ryan Binkley speaks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Ramaswamy isn’t the only candidate whose name could be conspicuously absent from some primary and caucus ballots.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in December that President Trump’s name should be omitted from that state’s Republican primary ballot, reasoning that section three of the 14th Amendment disqualified him from appearing on the ballot because he allegedly led an “insurrection” on Jan. 6, 2021. Maine’s Secretary of State removed President Trump from the primary ballot in that state on Dec. 28, 2023 on similar 14th Amendment grounds.
President Trump is appealing the Maine ruling to that state’s supreme court. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up the Colorado case.
Mr. Ramaswamy filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the former president. In addition, he has vowed to remove his name from the ballot in states where President Trump’s name has been stripped from the ballot and called on other candidates to do the same.
Ms. Haley will not appear in the Nevada Republican Party’s caucus, slated for Feb. 8. Instead, she will appear in a state-organized Republican primary, taking place on Feb. 6. The state’s GOP is boycotting the  contest, citing, among other concerns, inadequate electoral security.
Mr. Christie was also barred from appearing on Maine’s primary ballot by a judge in that state. Shortly before dropping out, Mr. Christie allowed that decision to stand.

“Nikki Haley didn’t bother to qualify in Nevada and Chris Christie couldn’t figure out how to qualify in Maine,” Ms. McLaughlin said.


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