CHICAGO (AP) — One of the candidates who filed to run against U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk in the Republican primary won't be on the March ballot.

The Illinois State Board of Elections on Thursday rejected nominating petitions from Elizabeth Pahlke of Arlington Heights. A hearing officer found Pahlke didn't file proper paperwork and signatures. Some of her petitions contained what Pahlke described as mud, grass and "bird signatures."

Kirk now faces one opponent on March 15: James Marter, a businessman from Oswego who says he's more conservative than Kirk.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, state Sen. Napoleon Harris or former Chicago Urban League CEO Andrea Zopp in the November general election.

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