Every day for the last week, I have made a pitch for people to run for Precinct Committeeman.
Naturally, I have concentrated on Republicans, but the process is the same for Democrats.
Most people get interested in politics because of the national arena.
In Crystal Lake in 1960, my father was chairman of the Nixon volunteer campaign.
I imagine he soon found out that the Precinct Committeemen were mainly interested in local and state politics.
That’s where the jobs were.
It wasn’t until eight years after we moved to Crystal Lake that he decided to run for Precinct Committeeman.
Why did he run?
Our Precinct Committeeman had been arrested for being the keeper of a gaming house (right across from the Congregational Church).
Dad didn’t think that provided a good image for the Republican Party.
We discussed the effects of having my name on the ballot for County Treasurer and his for Precinct Committeeman.
We thought it would be a disadvantage, but Dad thought it was really important to present an honest face to voters in our precinct.
He ran and won.
I’ve mentioned other reasons people run for Precinct Committeeman. Among them are
- to get a job
- to keep a job
- high taxes (I’ve never heard of someone running because they want higher taxes)
- desire for more influence
- desire to have important people court one
- being asked by someone more deeply involved in the political game
There are probably more reasons. Perhaps some will be revealed in the comment section.
Filing for Precinct Committeeman, both Republican and Democrat started Monday. It continues until November 30th.
So there is one weekend left to gather signatures.
It takes a minimum of ten signatures to get on the ballot, however, I recommend getting twice that number just to make sure there are ten “good,” that is, register voter, signers. Be sure to number the petitions are the bottom and put them in consecutive order.
Petitions may be found on the McHenry County Clerk’s web site here.
Before filing one’s petition, one needs to fill out a Statement of Candidacy, which can be found here.
One needs to sign both the petition and the Statement of Candidacy in front of a notary public. They can be found at local banks, real estate and lawyer’s offices
Staple all three sheets of paper together with the Statement of Candidacy on top. Do not use paper clips, because people have gotten kicked off the ballot for not having the petitions and statement securing attached to one another.
Then, take your petition packet to the County Clerk’s Office. (It could be mailed, but it has to arrive by Monday at 5 PM when the Clerk’s Office closes.)
As a Precinct Committeeman, you can have an impact on your community.
Most Committeeman distribute letters recommending their favorite candidates.
I do so every election. (There are four every two years, although in 2017, there may be a fourth if you live in a larger township where there is a primary election for township office.)
Precinct Committeemen also select party leaders. There is a County Convention for each party at which officers are elected.
At the Republican Convention last time, for the first time since at least 1958, a chairman, Sandra Salgado, was elected who was not part of what might be called the “Old Guard” or the “Establishment.”
Both the newcomers and the faction that controlled the County GOP since at least the 1950’s are assiduously recruiting people to run for Precinct Committeeman.
If you believe the seat of power resides in the Party organizations, as I do, I encourage you to run for this bottom of the pyramid office.