The Illinois General Assembly settled a fight among McHenry Township Republicans Wednesday.
Four years ago, insurgent Republicans took control of the McHenry Township Republican Party from followers of long-time power house Al Jourdan, Jr.
Members of the former ruling faction had installed their members as McHenry Township officials (minus the Assessor, who defeated the GOP incumbent four years ago).
A tradition had developed in which those desiring to retire left office early.
That allowed those still in office to fill the vacancies with their favorites, thus giving them an advantage.
The new folks continued their control of the McHenry GOP two years ago.
And, in a dance similar to what happens in Chicago when a new ward committeeman is elected abd subsequently goes after the alderman’s seat, they decided they wanted their people to take the township offices.
Instead of holding a Republican Township Primary Election, the Central Committee decided to hold a party caucus.
In a meeting to set the rules the Precinct Committeemen decided to give each the number of votes cast in their precinct in the last GOP Primary Election.
Others from those who voted in that primary would be given one vote.
That vote would be subtracted from that of their Precinct Committeeman.
Sensing the disadvantage, the incumbent township officials, at least one of whom had participated in the rule setting Central Committee meeting, started passing petitions as Independents.
Members of that slate who were GOP Committeemen also resigned from that post.
The caucus was held.
There a motion was made to allow each person attending one vote was made.
The vote was by one-man, one-vote and the weighted voting procedure was approved by a large margin.
Supporters of the Independents argued that they would have won had they known such a vote were to be taken.
In any event, the favorites of the new ruling coalition were nominated.
In defense of conducting a caucus rather than a primary election to nominate candidates, the Republicans said taxpayers saved the $38,000 it would have taken to print ballots, advertise and hire election judges.
There was then contentious petition challenges and cross-challenges, which, after much argument, were withdrawn.
The election was held with a split electoral decision.
The rules for the caucus were a key issue in the race between those designated as Republicans on the ballot and those, most of whom had been appointed as Republicans, running as Independents.
The Township Supervisor and Road Commissioner supported by State Senator Pam Althoff won narrow victories.
Appointed Supervisor Craig Adams, running as an Independent, beat Republican Steve Verr by 86 votes, 3,471 to 3,385.
Appointed High Way Commissioner James Condon captured the Road Commissioner spot by 139 votes over Republican Steve Koerber.
The new “organization” Republican nominees took all four Township Trustee spots, plus that of the Township Clerk.
This, of course, sets the stage for some interesting McHenry Township meetings.
The incumbent Democrat won re-election as Assessor without opposition.
Althoff introduced Senate Bill 666 early in the session, getting it approved about twenty days after the primary election.
McHenry County Republican County Chairman, Sandra Salgado, a member of those who took control four years ago opposed the bill’s passage.
State Rep. Barbara Wheeler, one of Althoff’s two State Representatives, picked up the bill in the Illinois House.
She stumbled in her first attempt to gain passage on Tuesday, but Wednesday, a day later, she squeaked out a two-vote victory.
The vote was 61-45-2 with sixty votes required for passage.
Local State Representatives voting for the bill were
- Steve Andersson
- Barb Wheeler
Voting in opposition were
- David McSweeney
- Steve Reick
- Allen Skillicorn
State Rep. Peter Breen spoke against the bill. He is from DuPage County.
Now, the bill goes to Governor Bruce Rauner.
The Governor had the ability to please local grass roots Republicans or local legislative Republicans in the bill that gave Democrat Jack Franks the power to break ties on the McHenry County Board.
Rauner went with the legislative Republicans.
This is a someone similar fight between the sponsors of the legislation and the McHenry Township GOP organization.