Over the weekend I became convinced that McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Mike Tryon is the only one who can either take steps to allow Tea Party activist Tonya Franklin a chance to get on the ballot to run against Democrat “Chainsaw Jack” Franks or be responsible for Franks’ running unopposed.
During his last term as Republican Party County Chairman (and County Treasurer), Bill LeFew gave Franks a free ride. That was in 2006.
State Rep. Mike Tryon took LeFew’s place after the 2008 primary. No one filed in the primary election to run against Franks. During the period running up the the GOP organizing convention, Tryon was busy solidifying support.
Although all the Central Committee had to do was nominate a candidate that that candidate would appear on the ballot, Franks got another free ride.
In 2010, self-starter John O’Neill decided if no one else was going to run against Franks he would.
And he did.
I remember his telling me how excited Republicans were to have someone carrying showing the Republican’s banner, so to speak.
A lot better than flying a white flag from the party headquarters in Crystal Lake.
(There was one Dorr Township precinct with Crystal Lake addresses in Franks’ district and still is after Franks eliminated all of his the precincts he lost during last year’s reapportionment, which, like everything else in Springfield is pretty much controlled by the man Jack Franks has voted for for House Speaker seven times so far.)
This year no one was recruited by the Republican Party to pass petitions to run against “Chainsaw Jack,” although to be fair, the reason for that nickname did not surface until after the filing deadline had passed.
Trying to position himself so that he could win a statewide Democratic Party primary, Franks got family and friends to put a couple of hundred thousand dollars into his campaign fund just before the end of June, 2009, campaign filing deadline. Franks wanted to be the Democratic Party candidate for Governor.
Comparing his resources with other Democratic legislators who might have statewide ambitions led me to the finding that he has the fourth highest amount of money in the bank.
Since the beginning in 1998, Franks has said he was Pro-Choice at candidates’ nights.
But his voting record at one point could be argued to be more Pro-Life than the Republican he defeated.
But he wasn’t Pro-Choice enough for Personal PAC, the pro-abortion group that requires candidates to say they don’t support and limiting of abortion in Illinois. (Currently, one can have an abortion the day before a due date and it will be legal.)
Knowing he had to have this big bucks Political Action Committee at least neutral in a statewide race, Franks agreed with their wishes and in 2008 and 2010 was endorsed by Personal PAC.
And, then there’s the homosexual vote.
Franks has been going out of his way to court gays and lesbians, even being quoted saying favorable things in the Windy City Times about the action of a northeastern Lake County gay teenager.
And, in an attempt to curry favor, he voted for the civil unions bill.
To make nice-nice with Com Ed (they don’t call it the “power company” just because it usually delivers electricity), he voted for that monopoly’s electric rate increase bill, announcing his break with populism the night before the vote to a favored TV reporter and introduced a bill to allow Com Ed to cut down every tree within twenty feet of an electric line, hence, then nickname “Chainsaw Jack.”
So, if Republican Chairman Mike Tryon doesn’t want to throw in the towel for a second time, what does he have to do to give Tonya Franklin a fighting chance to get on the ballot.
It takes more than gaining Party approval.
That “party approval,” by the way has been made more difficult.
Now, a Central Committee must meet and name two members of a “Representative Committee” from the 63rd State Rep. District. As I understand the law, those two have to be from Franks’ district and, together with Tryon, they have the ability to nominate someone to run against Franks.
But, since last time around, in order to make it more difficult for minority parties to put someone up against incumbent Democrats, the General Assembly and Governor added another hurdle.
The nominee must get at least 500 “good” signatures on petitions, the same thing that would have been required if one had filed in the primary election.
The deadline for filing both the party nomination papers and the petitions and all the other paperwork that primary candidates have to file is June 4th.
Read the by-laws of the McHenry County Republican Central Committee and it says that there was supposed to be a meeting last Thursday night.
But, I was told by Mark Daniel, the new Central Committee Vice Chairman, who is also Township Chairman in Nunda Township, that the May meeting was canceled.
Maybe other GOP Precinct Committeeman got a routine notice of the cancellation, but I got nothing until I asked Daniel.
So, how does one call a Special Meeting before the “regular” third Thursday of the month meeting in June, which, of course, is after the June 4th deadline.
The by-laws says there has to be a ten-day written notice.
If mailed today, under that rule, the earliest a meeting could be held would be after the Memorial Day weekend giving Tonya Franklin’s volunteers one weekend to gather the signatures.
She’d need a lot of volunteers to do that but, if she could pull it off, it would pretty well put to bed the Establishment argument that she has no support. Indeed, I doubt there is any candidate on the ballot in McHenry County who got all of his or her signatures in one weekend.
Making the task even more difficult is the June 5th Wisconsin Recall Election date, which one might expect to drain off volunteers who might assist Franklin gather signatures.
However, state law does not say that ten days notice must be given.
An attorney I talked to this weekend said that in emergencies, such as the shortage of time between now and June 4th certainly seems to represent, notice could be given via a shorter notice period.
I was told that calling twice notifying Committeemen of a meeting two days hence would probably be good enough.
The process, however, must be initiated by Chairman Mike Tryon.
And, we all know that there are GOP Precinct Committeemen who are on Jack Franks’ fundraising “Host Committee.” (Not to mention Host Committee member Sheriff Keith Nygren, who applied for appointment as Sheriff as a Democrat when Democrat Art Tyrell resigned.)
From talking to John O’Neill, I believe there are current Republican Precinct Committee who campaigned for Franks over O’Neill in 2010.
So Franks has his own blowback machine within the McHenry County Republican Party.
You might say, there is something of a “McHenry County Combine,” with apologies to Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass.
Will Tryon follow the example of the new Cook County GOP Chairman?
Or do what he can to make sure that Jack Franks has a Republican Party opponent this fall?
Other articles that might be of interest follow: