Cook County GOP's endorsement of Rauner may not be what it seems
Republicans from at least one township in Cook County said that Tuesday's endorsement of Gov. Bruce Rauner was the outcome of a rigged process and not a reflection of grassroots support within the party.
Overall, Rauner won the Cook County Republican endorsement over his challenger, Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton); this while Ives won 55 percent of the city vote.
But a group of attendees at Tuesday's Palatine Township Republican Organization endorsement meeting, and some prominent Illinois Republicans, charge that the outcome of the county endorsement vote was pre-determined – effectively bought and paid for with jobs, appointments and other favors from Rauner to committeemen and other local party leaders.
“Rauner gaining an endorsement from the Cook County Republican Central Committee is like Sergeant Schultz getting a pat on the back from Hogan’s Heroes,” political analyst Chris Robling told Prairie State Wire. “Bruce still knows nothing, and the inmates will endorse Jeanne in the fall with equivalent vigor. But as long as he is their Sergeant, what else might one expect?”
Prairie State Wire is compiling a list of Cook County party leaders who have been given state or party jobs or other favors from Rauner and his campaign and matching it to each township endorsement outcome.
In Palatine, a straw poll held during a Christmas party at the headquarters on Dec. 5 had at most four hands of 40 go up for Rauner, according to one attendee at the meeting.
“I saw at most three or four, but some people say there may have been only one or two,” Vicki Wilson, an organization member who attended that night, told North Cook News.
She said a few attendees did not vote at all and the rest of the hands, the vast majority, went up for Ives.
But Tuesday, Wilson wrote in a Facebook post that Palatine GOP Chairman Aaron Del Mar rebuffed requests for certain rules to be followed when considering the endorsement.
"Del Mar ran a sham endorsement session on numerous levels," Wilson wrote. "This endorsement is completely meaningless. As the straw poll at the Christmas party and the standup vote tonight showed, the majority of Palatine Township Republicans endorse Jeanne Ives."
For his part, Del Mar said that any suggestion that proper procedure wasn’t followed is “patently false,” and that his appointment by Rauner in December 2016 to the board of the Illinois International Port District had nothing to do with the outcome of the endorsement.
“Even if I endorsed Ives, he (Rauner) couldn’t get me removed from the board,” Del Mar said.
Other area Republicans denounced the Palatine process as well.
Mark Cramer, a Schaumburg Township Republican Organization precinct captain, told Illinois Review, "Del Mar destroyed all credibility of the GOP endorsement process in Cook County and calls into clear question the unethical practices of the Rauner campaign.”
Along with the support from Chicago Republicans, Ives has won the support of numerous grassroots groups, including the Crete Township Republicans, Northwest Side GOP Club, Wheatland Township Republican Organization, Fremont Township Republican Organization, Republicans of Wheeling Township, Chicago GOP, Batavia Township Republican Organization, Wauconda Township Republican Club, Republican Assembly of Lake County and Tax Accountability (Taxpayers United of America).
Also supporting her campaign are Reps. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine), Peter Breen (R-Lombard), John Cabello (R-Machesney Park), Margo McDermed (R-Mokena), Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee), Barb Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) and Sens. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) and Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon). State Rep. Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston) has made a significant financial donation to her campaign.