To no one’s surprise, 14th district congressional primary politics playing out in chairman’s race too
For the fans of the original Star Trek TV series, many will remember the episode “The Corbomite Maneuver”. The commander Balok (voiced by Walker Edmiston) is the sinister-looking alien who was pictured on the end credits of the entire 2nd season of the show.
This is the episode where Captain Kirk teaches Mr. Spock the art of diplomacy in a standoff. Spock applied chess, but Kirk applied poker to a situation where the crew was facing, on the surface, a superior opponent.
Kirk floated a bluff about an imaginary device known as “corbomite”, which the alien fell for completely. Kind of a precursor to the “cowboy diplomacy” Star Trek: The Next Generation would use in the 1990s, or a reflection of Cold War “brinksmanship” which took place throughout the 1960s.
Reading the newspaper coverage of the Kane County board chairman’s Republican primary, one can feel like they are being “bluffed” by someone, and like everything else in local Republican politics this election cycle, the 14th congressional district primary casts its shadow over this high profile local race.
On Tuesday, McHenry County Blog published this article noting the last minute petition filing of Kane County Treasurer Dave Rickert to run for county board chairman, with 2-term incumbent Chris Lauzen having filed his petitions a week earlier.
The source for Tuesday’s story was a very public tweet responding to my question about Lauzen’s retirement which was embedded in Tuesday’s article by reputable blogger, local campaign consultant, author and former reporter Jeff Ward.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ward published his own article on his blog The First Ward including coverage of the board chairman’s primary which can be viewed here.
The Daily Herald‘s reporter, James Fuller, tweeted Wednesday morning that after talking by phone with Lauzen, he was told Lauzen will be running a competitive primary with Rickert.
While I respect Mr. Fuller heard this from Lauzen, McHenry County Blog stands by its source in Jeff Ward that there will be no Lauzen-Rickert primary.
Fuller published his article on this topic early Wednesday evening, and I did talk to Fuller through multiple DMs in Twitter on Wednesday and shared facts about this race, several were included in the article.
Now to some learnings that were not published, which has direct ties to the 14th congressional district primary.
Part of the research done on Wednesday was to review both sets of petitions from both Lauzen and Rickert, which are imaged and accessible online through the Kane County clerk’s website.
As the Herald article states, Rickert’s petitions were circulated only by Rickert himself, who collected the nearly 780 signatures.
One of the signatures on Rickert’s petition was that of 14th district congressional candidate Jim Oberweis.
While Oberweis, just as any registered voter, has every right to sign any petition for any Republican candidate he wishes, it’s one thing that you could do it, and it’s another thing if you should do it.
One of the unwritten rules for candidates who run for an office like Congress or any statewide office, is not to inject yourself in local politics.
When Oberweis ran for Congress in 2008, his main competition in the Republican primary was then State Senator Chris Lauzen. Oberweis won the 2 primaries (special and general election) on the same day that year.
Oberweis’ biggest boost to win the primary was the endorsement by the former congressman and now disgraced Denny Hastert.
So in addition to Oberweis still using a picture taken from the above press conference which took place 12 years ago this month on his campaign website’s home page and as his Twitter avi, to add insult to injury, Oberweis signed Lauzen’s primary opponent’s petition (Oberweis replaced his campaign Facebook avi with an updated picture last month):
Now enter James Marter into the Kane County board chairman primary.
Unlike Oberweis, Marter lives in Kendall County, so he could not sign a Kane County office petition as a Republican elector.
But it is legal for Marter to circulate petitions for a race he cannot sign the petition, and that is what Marter did for Chris Lauzen, and 2 petition pages in Lauzen’s petitions were circulated by Marter:
It is appreciated that the precinct committeeperson in Marter would want to help others gather signatures for their petitions, especially a 2-term incumbent of Lauzen’s stature.
Clearly this sheet had the signatures collected through an event, instead of door-to-door, since 4 of the 10 signatures are voters who do not live in the 14th district.
Maybe Marter is angling for a public endorsement from Lauzen and he circulated petitions for Lauzen for that reason?
And can’t be overlooked Lauzen spoke at an event in Huntley last month featuring multiple conservative candidates including federal candates like Marter and U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Tom Tarter.
Don’t know if a lot of committeepersons will go outside of their home county to collect signatures for a local race, but my guess is the number who would do that is small.
But back to the Lauzen-Rickert “corbomite maneuver” being played out in the local newspapers. Late Wednesday afternoon in a blog comment, Ward said the following concerning what Fuller had tweeted about Lauzen not retiring:
“I spoke with Dave Rickert for an hour yesterday, and I JUST spoke with Chairman Lauzen for 20 minutes.
“And while they’re not giving anything away, trying to sneak the truth past me is like trying to sneak the dawn past a rooster.
“I stand by my story because it’s the truth!”Jeff Ward, 12/4/19 The First Ward blog comment
And McHenry County Blog stands by the truth of its source for Tuesday’s article, and look for there to be no Lauzen-Rickert Republican primary for county board chairman.
Update: Ward Hedges a Little, so I will too, slightly, and Remind Everyone Where Succession Ultimately Lies
This morning, an exchange of tweets between Jeff Ward and James Fuller took place:
My responses are sincere and personally, I prefer Lauzen to seek and win a 3rd term, and finish his work as county board chairman with a smaller county board, while continuing his outstanding record on fiscal policy and reducing government spending.
So my prediction is revised that it may not be Lauzen withdrawing his candidacy, but Rickert is more likely to withdraw.
Getting back to the 14th district Republican primary, last month, candidate Sue Rezin withdrew from the Lake County Republicans’ executive committee endorsement session because of the backroom dealmaking that resulted in Jim Oberweis winning the leadership’s endorsement.
And Catalina Lauf accurately called out backroom dealmaking/party bosses too, as well as consistently calling-out “career politicians”.
Could a reason voters are fed up with anyone who serve in public office be for “deals” and “succession plans” like the one mentioned by James Fuller above? Could this be a reason why candidates like Ted Gradel, Catalina Lauf and possibly Jerry Evans are appealing to voters because they have little to no contact with the current political process?
There is reason to believe that one who has served in elective political office AND/OR Republican party leadership will be dismissed by voters as being part of the problem.
In elective public office, the ultimate succession planning is executed by voters, both in the primary and the general elections. Hopefully, Lauzen will seek reelection, and serve the full 4 years and in the interim, everyone who wants to move-up to chairman will begin, through effective policymaking, to earn the support they will eventually need in 2024.