State Representative Kent Gaffney started his political career two out of three Republican Party leaders met in a not-too-transparent process to select a replacement for the late State Rep. Mark Beaubien.
State Rep. Mike Tryon, who serves as McHenry County Republican Central Committee Chairman and was acting in that capacity, joined with Barrington Township Supervisor Gene Dawson, acting as Barrington Township GOP Chairman, picked Gaffney to fill out the term.
So, you could say that Gaffney started his political career with endorsements.
At the time, State Senator Dan Duffy decried the action.
“In typical Illinois fashion, the job went to a political insider,” Duffy, half of whose district is Gaffney’s 52nd, observed. “If the Republican Party would ever like to be relevant in Illinois, their leaders must start making better decisions.”
As Gaffney’s political career started with two endorsements, it continued with more of the same.
On November 16th, Gaffney announced 30 local officials had endorsed him. I have reproduced them below with McHenry County officials indicated in bold face type.
- Kenneth D. Koehler, McHenry County Board Chairman
- Phyllis K. Walters, McHenry County Recorder
- Robert “Bob” Bless, McHenry County Board District 1
- Anna May Miller, McHenry County Board District 1
- Tina Hill, McHenry County Board District 5
- Ersel Schuster, McHenry County Board District 6
- Lyn Orphal, Former McHenry County Board Member
- David Stolman, Lake County Board Chairman
- Robert Skidmore, Lake County Treasurer
- Roycealee J. Wood, Lake County Regional Superintendent of Schools
- Robert J. Miller, Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner
- Dan Shea, Trustee, Algonquin Township
- John Amrich, Trustee, Wauconda Township
- Eugene R. “Gene” Dawson, 8th Congressional Committeeman, Barrington Township Supervisor
- D. Robert Alberding, Barrington Township Clerk
- Rob Collins, Barrington Township Republican Precinct Captain; Precinct 11
- Michael Pogar, Barrington Township Republican Precinct Captain; Precinct 2
- David Nelson, Cuba Township Supervisor
- Rebecca Tonigan, Cuba Township Assessor
- Arthur Rice, Trustee, Cuba Township
- Aaron Shepley, Mayor, Crystal Lake
- Robert J. Nunamaker, Village President, Fox River Grove
- Suzanne Blohm, Trustee, Fox River Grove
- Steven Knar, Trustee, Fox River Grove
- Robert Bragg, Trustee, Village of Cary
- Bruce Kaplan, Trustee, Village of Cary
- Karen Lukasik, Trustee, Village of Cary
- Stanley Duda, President, Prairie Grove Village
- Lisa Behm, Trustee, Village of Prairie Grove
- Michael J. Rolfs, Trustee, Village of Tower Lakes
- Dr. Brian Sager, Mayor, City of Woodstock
- Ed Ritter, Village Board President, Carpentersville
Some state legislators were announced on January 10th:
- State Senator Pam Althoff (R-32nd District),
- Retired State Senator William Peterson (R-26th District),
- House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-84th District), and
- State Representatives Sandy Cole (R-62nd District),
- JoAnn Osmond (R-61st District) and
- Ed Sullivan (R-51st District)
I even got an endorsement Fax from former State Rep. Ron Stephens from near St. Louis.
Gaffney was endorsed by Gene Dawson’s Barrington Township Republican Organization, a February 13th press release announced. Dawson, you may remember joined with Tryon to appoint Gaffney in the first place.
On February 14th, another press release announced the following six endorsements from Nunda Township officials, plus one Republican precinct committeeman and one precinct captain from that township:
- Dennis Jagla, Nunda Township Assessor
- Don Kopsell, Nunda Township Highway Commissioner
- Lee Jennings, Nunda Township Trustee
- Tom Palmer, Nunda Township Trustee
- Jim Schlader, Nunda Township Trustee
- Joni Smith, Nunda Township Trustee
- Jay Girasek, Nunda 4 Precinct Committeeman
- Glenn Labello, Nunda Republican Captain
I county twenty-seven public officials from McHenry County, although a number are not from the district in which Gaffney was on the ballot.
There were also party officials, two of which were listed in Nunda Township press release.
In addition a letter was sent by Algonquin Township Republican Township Committeeman Rebecca Lee and she was featured on last week endorsement mailings.
What does one conclude from the endorsement approach taken by Gaffney’s campaign?
The easiest conclusion is that it didn’t work.
Popularity of local and state elected officials was not transferred to Gaffney.
Only polling would tell us whether an individual’s endorsement made any difference. That was not in Gaffney’s budget, his campaign manager told me.
I am sure that readers may have other observations to share.