Don’t know how many people Chicago-base American Direction Group interviewers called, but Friday night, I was one.
It’s a firm that touts its ability to target voters through research.
And mobilize volunteers.
The topics of the call were the Presidential and McHenry County Board Chairman contests.
Of course, there is no McHenry County Board Chairman race yet, but the content of the questions indicates at minimum that Democratic Party State Representative Jack Franks is considering a run against Republican candidate Mike Walkup.
First up was an open-ended question asking what one thought the most important issue is.
Then came a series of politicians’ names about which I was asked whether I felt very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable:
- Donald Trump
- Michael Madigan
- Michael Walkup
- Hillary Clinton
- Jack Franks
- Bruce Rauner
Job performance was asked about them next.
Specific questions about political issues came next.
- Real estate taxes — just right, too high, etc.
- Property tax freeze — level of support
- State budget impasse — outrage, angry, disgusted, embarrassed, frustrated, satisfied, pleased
- Role of Jack Franks in budget impasse — significantly responsible for, little to do with, other choices, too
Then came tests of potential campaign themes.
Franks was described as
- a State Representative
- a lawyer specializing in banking and collections
- a bank chairman
- a conservative
- voted against every tax hike
- opposed high paying pensions (local, I believe–no mention was made of his legislative pension) and
- that he would continue to root waste and fraud.
There was something about his being part of the patronage system and an ally of Mike Madigan which led to the stalemate in Springfield.
Again his role as a [bill and mortgage] collections lawyer who had put families out on the street was mentioned.
Next came a description of Mike Walkup:
- a disability lawyer who fights for the welfare of his clients
- combats bloated cronyism
- has taken taxpayers dollars in the form of a pension [remember, there is no requirement for truth in campaigns]
- advised that county board members plead the 5th to protect their pensions
- backed by the Good Ol’ Boys
Then there were statements about why each candidate should be elected or not elected. After each the interviewed indicated how persuasive the argument was from very persuasive to very unpersuasend croynishive.
After each statement, the person being interviewed was asked whether to what extent they supported or opposed the position.
First were statements about why Jack Franks should be elected County Board Chairman:
- something about taxpayer dollars and Franks’ opposition to any property tax increase [contradicted by some Johnsburg residents]
- vocal opponent of pension system for county board members and will work to eliminate county board pensions
- making county government as efficient as possible, supporting term limits for all members, a small board with single member districts
- reform local government, make county government transparent, consolidate as has been done in DuPage County where $13 million has been saved
- end cronyism under Democrats, end Good Ol’ Boy politics
Next were five statements about why Jack Franks should not be elected County Board Chairman:
- he’s a lawyer who has put dozens of our citizens out of their homes
- he can’t be trusted, chairman of the State Bank Group which is being sued by Johnsburg for not having put streets in a subdivision [The Northwest Herald’s story about this did not mention Jack Franks’ name.]
- his consolidation reforms are not the answer, they actually cost money
- he is part of the problem in Springfield, will be nothing but the same in McHenry County
- he is an ally of Mike Madigan and the Democratic machine. McHenry County can’t afford to have Jack Franks bring Chicago politics here
Three why not vote for Mike Walkup statements followed:
- he’s a political opportunist, wants a salary rather than his legal fees, cynically running as a Republican, but ran as a Democrat for the legislature before
- he gaming the system getting disability payments because he is allergic to paper
- he can’t be trusted to root out the fraud in county board pensions, he told members to plead the 5th if asked questions about how many hours they worked
Finally, I was asked my age and party identification or lack thereof.