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Tio Hardiman’s comeback role: candidate for governor

Tio Hardiman  | Sun-Times photo

Tio Hardiman | Sun-Times photo

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Updated: September 18, 2013 6:06AM

When his wife decided not to pursue a domestic battery charge against him last month, a feisty-sounding Tio Hardiman — the former head of the anti-violence group CeaseFire Illinois — promised a “comeback.”

Here it is: He’s running for governor of Illinois.

“I plan to run a very positive campaign,” Hardiman told the Chicago Sun-Times Friday morning. “This is not a decision I made overnight. I always wanted to run. I was too busy trying to run CeaseFire.”

Hardiman, 50, is promising more details in a press conference Saturday, but his 11-point plan includes:

◆ Building a casino in the city.

◆ Ending the state’s pension crisis.

◆ Converting “some of the penitentiaries into institutions of higher learner and rehabilitation centers for non-violent offenders.”

Hardiman was arrested in May, accused of punching and kicking his 47-year-old wife, leaving her with bruises, a cut to her neck and a swollen lip.

After his arrest earlier this year, officials with CeaseFire announced Hardiman’s contract, which expired June 30, would not be renewed. Hardiman’s wife, Alison Hardiman, also filed for divorce.

But in early July, Alison Hardiman dropped the domestic battery charge and had an apparent change of heart about the divorce.

“I want to work on my marriage,” she told a Cook County judge in the Maywood courthouse, asking for the charges to be dropped. “I love my husband.”

On the same day, Hardiman declared himself “vindicated” and promised his comeback.

Hardiman now says his wife is “100 percent” behind his planned run for governor.

In June, it was also disclosed that Hardiman had pleaded guilty in 1999 to a misdemeanor count of domestic battery for beating his first wife, but indicated on his job application at the University of Illinois at Chicago that he had never been convicted of a crime.

Asked if it might not have been better to delay his comeback in light of his recent troubles, he said: “People may feel it’s too soon, but I refuse to allow one bad situation to define my entire body of work.”

Hardiman said he plans to draw on the support of the “thousands of people” who “stayed in my corner” during his troubles. He says he wants to become the first African-American governor of Illinois. He says he’s seeking a female running mate.

If he runs, Hardiman would join Bill Daley in challenging Gov. Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary.


Twitter: @slesposito

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