Rich Whitney

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois

In an especially contentious election year, there are a couple alternatives to the major party candidates in the race for Illinois governor. But, even some backers of third parties say they aren’t great options either, though that’s not where they want the story to end.

A derivative of photo by Erik Hersman, licensed under CC BY 2.0 / FLICKR

A recent federal appeals court decision struck down the requirement that minor parties offer a full-slate of candidates for statewide or countywide offices, while another court battle looms.

Illinois Green Party website

  Illinois Republicans and Democrats chose their party's nominees last week. Third-party candidates are working to join them on the November ballot.

Before they can even think about winning a statewide election, independent candidates and those from third parties have to make it on the ballot, which requires collecting at least 25,000 valid signatures, by mid-June.

Green Party candidates are beginning their petition drive.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney says no single event or aha moment solidified his desire to get involved in politics. Rather, he says, it began with a series of questions he started asking himself about issues that are often seen as intractable problems in modern society.

Campaigns for November elections traditionally began after Labor Day, but this summer's State Fair set the tone in a long race for governor. 

Democrat Day — called Governor's Day in honor of the party in power — was loud, star-studded and packed with folks wearing bright blue T-shirts to show support for incumbent Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Many wore the names of unions as they stepped off 60 charter buses. The $20,000 to $25,000 cost of their transportation from hometowns to fairgrounds was paid by the Blagojevich political fund, according to campaign spokeswoman Sheila Nix.