Cook County Republican chairmanship election a true contest

There’s “a tug of war” among Cook County Republicans over leadership, Sneed reports in Sun-Times, citing Illinois Review, with Bruce Rauner backing chairman Aaron Del Mar, Palatine township committeeman, over challenger Chris Cleveland, “hard-charging 43rd Ward GOP committeeman.”

Hard-charging indeed. At the Feb. 5 joint city and county GOP meeting at Parthenon Restaurant, Cleveland showed a video of TV news clips showing how he and his fellow city Republicans worked Mike Madigan over, getting him to withdraw his perennial pseudo-Republican opponent.

Cleveland came on sharp-as-a-tack, an energetic guy with a lot to say. Same for the city GOP chairman, Adam Robinson, in his talk to the group at meeting’s end. Del Mar was a no-show.

Cleveland presents a credible challenge to Del Mar, whom Sneed’s “party purists” consider “lethargic and lazy and [who] didn’t even attract enough endorsed candidates to fill out a party ballot,” according to “a top party source.”

That’s something else city Republicans did under Robinson-Cleveland leadership, get a bundle of candidates, 18 announced at one point, with petitions yet to be accepted — while Del Mar got none.

But Del Mar backed Rauner in the primary, while Cleveland held back — he “hadn’t planned to endorse in the governor’s race” he wrote eight days before the election, speaking as 43rd Ward committeeman — but was turned around when government unions began “pouring millions into Kirk Dillard’s campaign.”

Faced with “a serious play to hijack the Republican primary” and convinced that Rauner would “follow through on” his campaign “centerpiece” of “standing up to government unions,” he endorsed him. A Rauner victory would mean “we Republicans will have a mandate, a very big one, to take on the unions,” he wrote.

With it Republicans “can go after them on the pension problem they created. . . . on failing schools. . . . on wild overspending. . . . on corruption,” he wrote. “Imagine having a mandate, here in Illinois, “to do what Scott Walker did in Wisconsin.”

A ringing endorsement, that.

As for the role of county chairman, “it’s about candidates, media, and money, in that order,” he told Illinois Review. “Without the horsepower to bring those things in, a political party isn’t doing its job.”

Aaron Del Mar, on the other hand, is a different kind of Republican, as Illinois Review demonstrated when he was elected chairman in 2012. Have a look. Phew!


4 thoughts on “Cook County Republican chairmanship election a true contest

  1. Jim,   Really enjoy reading your posts on OP Republicans, even though I haven’t been involved in the Rep. political world for many years.  I was OP Republican Committeewoman 1966-1976 when Don Schilke was Committeeman.  Also, was Assistant to Jim Fletcher for 25 years, starting when he was Thompson’s Deputy Governor.  You  told me you either taught him, or his brother, Bob, at Loyola Academy.  Anyway, wanted you to know your work is appreciated.   Pat Angell  

    • Pat, much obliged. We are on the move, a step at a time. This immediate contest is important. Cleveland is a very strong candidate and proven contributor, his opponent the incumbent has had minimal impact, not to mention his highly questionable business venturing, as in the Illinois Review story linked above. Wild, in fact. I did either teach or have in sodality Jim F. I talk about Loyola sodality etc. in my Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968, by the way (Amazon has it), and recommend the book. Thanks again.

  2. Pingback: Cook County Republican chairmanship election a true contest | Blithe Spirit

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