Attorney: disputed Republican State Central Committee race decided by party staffers with 'personal and financial interests' in the outcome
An attorney representing Bob Winchester, who is challenging the Illinois Republican Party (IRP) over alleged improper voting procedures in the race for State Central Committeeman in the 15th congressional district, said that the announced race results were determined by a “group of unelected and merely appointed staff members” who have “personal and financial interests” in the re-election of current state GOP Chairman Tim Schneider.
“Not surprisingly, they have determined and announced a result in favor of the Chairman’s candidate, and provided no means of challenging that result,” Steve Boulton of Peraica & Associates, Ltd. wrote in a May 2 letter to IRP General Counsel John Fogarty, Jr.
The IRP’s website lists state Sen. Chapin Rose (Mahomet) as the winner over Winchester (Rosiclare), the incumbent, in the April 18 race for State Central Committee.
Winchester recently retained Boulton, an election law expert, to demand the party withdraw its announcement of Rose as the winner and to fight for a new election in the wake of allegations of numerous IRP missteps to steer the race toward Rose. Those allegations include not presenting Winchester as a candidate in some of the 33 counties in the congressional district; votes tallied by acclamation rather than individually; party intimidation; and not waiting to declare a winner until the Illinois State Board of Elections certifies the results.
Rose supports the re-election of Schneider to another four-year term. Winchester does not.
Boulton also refutes Fogarty’s contentions in his April 30 letter that the election procedure “has always been in place” and that this “procedure is fully authorized by both the Election Code and by IRP leadership.”
Boulton writes that no such authorization exists in the Election Code, the IRP bylaws, the State Central Committee or the Executive Committee (IRP leadership).
“The procedure may have well have been employed before, but it is not properly authorized and stands in contravention of the plain language of the Election Code,” Boulton wrote. “Repetition of an unlawful practice does not make it legal. If such were true bank robbery would be legal today.”
The 18 Republican State Central Committeemen were scheduled to meet in Springfield on May 19 to organize the party and elect a state chairman. Republican sources said that results in the 15th congressional district could determine the outcome in that race with Mark Shaw, chairman of the Lake County Republicans mounting a strong challenge to Schneider.
In his April 30 letter to Boulton, Fogarty asked Boulton for details of any improper conduct or incorrect votes alleged by Winchester.
“Evidence will have to wait for a proper forum," Boulton wrote in his reply.
Sources tell Prairie State Wire that the dispute will wind up in court if the State Board of Elections fails to step in and certify the results. For its part, a spokesman for the board said it has no authority to audit or investigate intra-party elections.