The Red Team went one for four in Tuesday’s elections.
Only Judge James Cowlin won.
It was clear that Red Team member Dan Regna had a formidable opponent in Assistant McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally.
Kenneally left nothing to chance.
But, big bucks never showed up the way it did for him eight years ago when he ran against Lou Bianhci.
It turned out that pretty much all Regna had was signs.
Joni Smith was also big on the sign front, as were Judge James Cowlin and County Board Chairman Joe Gottemoller.
One can surmise that Smith lost because Joe Tirio proposed a completely achievable method to save over $100,000 a year by abolishing the office he was seeking.
Having seen the mess made of the primary election by County Clerk Mary McClellan, people now wonder if she should be trusted to run the Recorder of Deeds Office.
But such people don’t realize there will be another election for County Clerk before the Recorder could be “erased,” to use Tirio’s language.
There is little reason to think that McClellan will be on the ballot in 2018.
She would have to win a Republican Party Primary Eleciton.
On second thought, if more than one person runs against her, she might win re-nomination.
That would give the Democrats a real chance of taking a countywide office.
(You’ll see why when I get a chance to report on what happened at Wednesday’s meeting of the McHenry County Democratic Party Central Committee.)
So, why did County Board Chairman Joe Gottemoller lose?
Pretty much everybody who was anybody in times past supported him.
The only reason I can come up with is that he appeared (and was) more “Establishment” than his opponent Mike Walkup.
Even his little signs had the word “Chairman” on top.
I’d guess this attempt to project authority may not have been helpful.
If being an outsider–as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are–is helpful this year, Walkup would have likely benefited from that.
No one has EVER accused Walkup of being an insider.
(What a mind wrenching change taking office will be in December.)
No one would ever think of Walkup as an insider.
All one has to do is see the way his County Board colleagues tolerate his speeches on the County Board floor.
I should add the adverb “barely” to the verb “tolerate.”
For three years Gottemoller has been in the news, first for re-writing the county’s zoning ordinance, now called the “Unified Development Ordinance,” then as County Board Chairman.
There can be no denying he was part of “the System.”
As Donald Trump’s and Ted Cruz’ successes demonstrate, a very large portion of the Republican electorate is fed up with the way that Republicans have been running things.
I thought that referred only to the way congressional Republicans were not doing what they could when they could, most recently in passing the budget bill that pretty completely pleased President Barack Obama.
Having seen Walkup victorious over Gottemoller, I’m wondering if the dissatisfaction with Republican Establishment figures may be more widespread than Washington.
Maybe it extends to Republicans in control here in McHenry County.
Gottemoller was endorsed by the “Power Elite” in McHenry County.
He got their money. He got their sign sites.
Joni Smith may have been hurt by working in the Recorder of Deeds Office and being endorsed by long-time incumbent Recorder Phyllis Walters.
That analysis may break down, however, when one looks at how strongly Patrick Kenneally was promoted by his boss, McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi.
So, what about Judge James Cowlin’s victory?
He certainly was endorsed by most attorneys who practice at the bar in the Courthouse.
But, there is a difference between Cowlin and Gottemoller.
Cowlin has not been in the news.
Nobody has covered his courtroom the eight years he has been on the bench.
And the Cowlin name is well-known with his father and grandfather having been Judges and his uncle having been State’s Attorney the last two years I was County Treasurer
Whatever the reasons (and I am sure that readers will add their takes), the Red Team did not have a winning night.
Cowlin was its only bright spot.