State GOP chair at stake as disputed 15th State Central Committeemen race destined for court
Sources tell Prairie State Wire that a dispute in the April 18 election for Republican State Central Committeemen in the 15th congressional district is almost certain to wind up in court with the Illinois State Board of Election’s insistence that it has no authority to investigate intra-party elections.
“If the board doesn’t act, the court could force it to act,” one source close to the dispute said.
In the race, the Illinois Republican Party announced state Sen. Chapin Rose (Mahomet) as the winner over incumbent Bob Winchester (Rosiclare), who alleges that the party rigged the results for Rose. Winchester supported State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) over Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary, and he opposes GOP state Chairman Tim Schneider re-election.
Winchester has retained election law expert Steve Boulton of the Chicago firm of Peraica & Associates Ltd., who wrote a letter in late April both to the party, asking it to stop claiming Rose as the winner, and to the Board of Elections, asking it what its response is going to be in the wake of the disputed race. In the letter, Boulton cited a provision in the State Election Code that says the board “shall certify the candidate receiving the highest number of votes… .”
But board spokesman Matt Dietrich said it has no audit or investigatory authority in the race.
“We basically get the results from the party and register them,” Dietrich said. “It’s up to the courts to settle any intra-party disputes.”
In the race, Winchester, a former state Representative, said that the party had some of the 33 counties vote by acclamation, an election ploy where winning candidates claim 100 percent of the vote if they receive any amount over 50 percent. Some local GOPers say that Winchester wasn’t even an option presented to the voters in their counties.
The Illinois GOP has Rose listed as the winner even though a spokesman for the party said they had no final results since some counties have yet to certify their results.
To date, the board has received no results from the party for any of the 18 races for State Central State Committee, Dietrich said.