Bull-fighter Sue Rezin Addresses Why She Has Withdrawn from Lake County Republican Endorsement Process
A letter was received from the Rezin for Congress campaign discussing why she will not participate in Saturday’s endorsement interviews in Lake County.
Recalling how Sue Rezin’s campaign responded to Jim Oberweis’ questionable poll when Oberweis released the executive summary back in mid September, she earned the “Bull-fighter” moniker given her being raised on a farm.
The cut & pasted letter follows, and afterward, some commentary from me. Her letter shows why the Bull-fighter label is appropriate for her:
November 1, 2019
Dear Lake County Republican Precinct Committee Members,
Thank you for what you do for our party to help Republican candidates win. Your time, hard work and engagement make a positive difference.
Over the past several months I have enjoyed meeting many of you, but more and more information has come to light that has led me to believe the Lake County Republican Central Committee endorsement push by your Central Committee leaders was designed from the beginning to be predetermined in favor of Jim Oberweis. Therefore, I am writing to explain to you why I will not take part in this endorsement process.
I had deep concerns about the logic of this endorsement process from the beginning but still intended to participate. I even mailed information about me and why I am running to all precinct committee members in Lake County—even those outside of the 14th Congressional District.
My concerns are as follows:
First, it is premature to make an endorsement before you know which candidates will make the ballot. The endorsement session is scheduled for November 2. Petition filing begins on November 25 and ends on December 2. A one-week petition challenge process starts right after. It would make far more sense to hold an endorsement process once you actually know which candidates qualify for the ballot and not just who wants to run.
Secondly, and most importantly, those with a vote on this endorsement are only members of the Executive Committee and the Township Chairs–not each elected precinct committee member. That is NOT how you elect your chairman and members of the Executive Committee. It seems designed to control the process rather than to get a sense of whether one candidate has overwhelming support among all members of the Central Committee.
Last spring Chairman Mark Shaw accompanied Jim Oberweis to Washington, DC to help Jim develop support among party leadership and PACs for Jim’s 7th race for Congress, U.S. Senate and governor. Jim Oberweis posted a photo of Mark Shaw and himself on Facebook from that trip.
Another photo Jim Oberweis posted on Facebook shows Mark Shaw marching in a parade wearing an “Oberweis for Congress” T-shirt, with Jim Oberweis giving a shout-out to Mark Shaw and Ted Livengood as: “The best parade walkers–EVER.”
Like Mark Shaw, Ted Livengood has been an energetic member of Jim Oberweis’ campaign. He has walked in parades and worked at festivals for Jim while wearing a custom “Oberweis for Congress” polo shirt and handing out Oberweis materials, including Oberweis Dairy discount coupons (which federal campaign finance experts say is a violation of federal campaign finance laws).
Mark Shaw and Ted Livengood have every right to support Jim Oberweis, but not to unfairly steer a Central Committee endorsement to their candidate. I believe it is fair for me to ask, “How fair can an endorsement process be that they designed?”
Your recently selected Third Vice Chairman Matt Durray was appointed by Shaw and Livengood, and Durray’s Facebook page says he has a job with the Oberweis campaign as Lake County Field Manager. Yet Matt also has a vote on this endorsement. Is that not a conflict of interest?
The final straw was that very recently Vice President Mike Pence landed in Lake County to go to an event in nearby Wisconsin. Republican Chairman Mark Shaw was allowed to ask people to be in the receiving line at the airport greeting the Vice President.
Shaw asked Jim Oberweis but not the other candidates for Congress in the 14th District. Jim Oberweis is in the photo of the receiving line. Now that might be appropriate if Jim Oberweis had already received the Lake County Republican Central Committee endorsement, but wouldn’t such action BEFORE the endorsement make you wonder how fair the endorsement process was going to be? It seems this is a concrete example that the decision on whom to endorse has already been made.
For those reasons I believe the process will not be objective and fair. It is clear that Jim Oberweis will be anointed with an endorsement to be voted on by only the top leaders of the Lake County Central Committee, but without elected Precinct Committee Members being allowed a direct vote on the endorsement.
Given the Madigan style of politics that this emulates with a lack of transparency and a predetermined endorsement of Jim Oberweis, I am disappointed in the deeply flawed endorsement process.
Because so many top leaders of your Central Committee have long had their minds made up, are not impartial, and have no intention of recusing themselves from this vote, I am declining to seek their endorsement and will not participate in this flawed endorsement process any further.
I have been to Lake County countless times during this campaign, and I look forward to working with those of you who want to nominate a proven winner as our nominee. Further, I will reach out energetically to everyone in Lake County in the general election as we campaign to restore mainstream representation to the people of the 14th Congressional District.
Like President Trump, I can tell when a process is rigged and the fix is in, and I have the courage to speak up about it. Therefore, I will not be participating in this particular endorsement process, but I will continue to campaign hard in Lake County and ask for the support of each and every one of you.
Given how the Bull-fighter in Sue Rezin ended her letter with a flourish, I think the Looney Tunes ending with another famous bullfighter from the classic cartoon short “Bully for Bugs” seems appropriate.
Rezin’s letter included photo images she mentioned in her letter, but McHenry County Blog has chosen not to publish them since they were not posted on Oberweis’ congressional campaign Facebook page, nor his campaign website.
COMMENTARY: A lot of “inside baseball” in Rezin’s letter. Remembering when I was a precinct chair/committeeman many years ago and given the audience of current precinct committeepersons in Lake County, I can appreciate the detail Rezin sent in the letter.
A reminder, Mark Shaw, a central figure in her letter, wears many hats in the Republican Party. In addition to being the Lake County Republican Central Committee chairman, he is also the 10th congressional district state central committeeman and is co-chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.
Those hats were worn interchangeably, particularly with Vice President Pence’s visit last month.
Rezin is correct that any formal endorsement by any county central committee within the 14th district in early November is premature. Currently, there are 8 candidates announced for the congressional seat. Additionally, rumors persist of 2 or 3 more candidates gathering signatures with 2 of them being millionaires who could self-fund a congressional primary bid.
That said, I’m sure many in Lake County have drawn the same conclusion drawn here on McHenry County Blog that only four candidates have separated themselves from the other candidates, and clearly, Oberweis and Rezin are two of them, along with Ted Gradel and Catalina Lauf.
While the term may not be politically correct, Oberweis and Shaw are what up until a few years ago would be referred to as “Old Bull Republicans”. Old Bulls were seen as giving way to a younger generation of leaders when the Republicans flipped the House in the 2010 elections.
Clearly, the way an endorsement session is apparently weighted in Oberweis’ favor is called-out and is something Old Bulls did back in a time when Republican organization endorsements meant something.
Quite frankly, Republican organization endorsements have not been significant in over 25 years. As Rezin states and all the candidates should pursue the support of the individual voter with their messages, positions on the issues, and let the voters decide for themselves.
Something that was also notable for Old Bulls is the pursuit of all endorsements. The last time Oberweis pursued the 14th district Republican nomination was in 2008 when the now disgraced Denny Hastert resigned from Congress in late 2007 after the Democrats flipped the House in the 2006 elections.
Oberweis, who at the time was a 3-time loser from 3 previous statewide primary losses, was the preferred choice by the Republican side of the “Bipartisan Combine” in the special and general primary contest against then-State Senator Chris Lauzen.
So in typical establishment Republican, Bipartisan Combine fashion, Hastert endorsed Oberweis over Lauzen in a big public press conference in mid December of 2007:
With the Combine’s help, including Hastert’s former campaign aides running Oberweis’ campaign in 2008, Oberweis won the primary elections in February of 2008 with comfortable majorities over Lauzen.
And then Oberweis went on to lose the special general election in March, and the regular general election in November to Bill Foster.
No question Oberweis is a candidate of habit. If the picture of Oberweis above looks familiar, it should. Because that venue, with Denny Hastert at his side, is where and when the picture Oberweis is currently using for his 2020 campaign was taken, and is his Facebook and Twitter avi.
I said a few months back, the only time it is appropriate to have such a dated picture next to your name is when your obituary is published.
So given, as Rezin points out, how the Lake County Republicans endorsement session is stacked in Oberweis’ favor is reminiscent of how the Illinois Bipartisan Combine works.
Should Oberweis win the primary in such a tainted fashion, history could repeat itself again in the general, and the “obituary” reference may be what is written about Oberweis’ electoral run come November 4, 2020.
- POLITICO “Old Bulls Move Aside in New GOP” 10/28/10″: https://www.politico.com/story/2010/10/old-bulls-move-aside-in-new-gop-044286