The Night the Lights Went Out While Jason Plummer Was Speaking

Last night at Crystal Lake’s 1776 restaurant will be a night that Jason Plummer, an aggressive Downstate candidate for lieutenant governor, will remember forever.

How do I know?

Lientenant governor candidate Jason Plummer begins speaking after being introduced by McHenry County Young Republican President Bryan Javor.

Because I’ve been on the same route he took twice, once in 1982 when I ran for State Comptroller against Roland Burris and twenty years later when I ran for governor in 2002 against Rod Blagojevich and Jim Ryan.

A statewide candidate doesn’t remember all the stops on the campaign trail, but some are memorable.

Like the night at some big meeting hall in Carbondale when all the candidates on the ticket were standing under a big photo of us all and Jim Thompson was commenting on the St. Louis Globe’s endorsement that day.

“Even Skinner got endorsed,”

he exclaimed.

Of course, I thought and still think I was more qualified than incumbent Burris to be State Comptroller, but even I was surprised I had received the endorsement.

Last night the McHenry County Young Republicans held a candidates’ night for county board candidates.

Thank goodness, the YR’s were not as hidebound as the DeKalb League of Women Voters in 1982, when I was not allowed to speak because I wasn’t a legislative candidate.

In any event, the tallest Republican candidate I have seen since Thompson walked to the podium and was told, as the other candidates had been told, that he had five minutes and that when he was at the four minute mark, he would be told.

He started by pointing out the Illinois lieutenant governor had “no constitutional duties.”

He cited the three statutes giving the office some things to do—probably all enacted while Neil Hartigan was serving under Governor Dan Walker—and said,

“Clearly it’s not an overwhelming workload.”

Plummer talked about his having created jobs in companies he had started, as well as his role in the family lumber business, RP Lumber, with 43 yards in Illinois and two in Missouri.

He told of how he was in intelligence in the Navy Reserve, had worked at the Heritage Foundation and for U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald.

And, how he had returned from Washington to run for Madison County Republican Party Chairman.

He talked about fighting corruption in Madison County, something that no knowledgeable person would deny exits.

“I battled corrupt legislators, a corrupt county board and a corrupt judiciary.”

Plummer said,

“The state needs someone who knows how to sign the bottom of a check, not just the back of a check.”

Great line, don’t you think?

While at a trade convention in Indiana, he told a woman he was running for lieutenant governor.

“In Indiana?” the woman asked.

“No, Illinois.”

The New Jersey resident reacted with dismay, wondering why anyone would want to run for office in our corrupt state.

“When the people of New Jersey are questioning the ethics of Illinois, (we’re in trouble).”

Then, a very bright light put up by YR President Bryan Javor went out.

Jason Plummer's expression after the bright light went out at 1776, plunging the room into relative darkness.

Then came the best quip of the night:

“Is that what you do at one minute?”

I’m still chuckling.

Tell me that Plummer won’t remember last night for the rest of his life.

In that last minute, Plummer listed some endorsements. I caught the Illinois State Rifle Association and the Illinois Federation of Right to Life.

Lientenant governor candidate Jason Plummer posing at 1776 in Crystal Lake with his campaign manager, Ray Marchiori.

Afterward I got a photo of Plummer with his campaign manager, Ray Marachiori. Marachiori staffed my Privatization Committee during the 1995-96 legislative session.

Plummer stayed until the end of the meeting. I guess he figured everybody in the room would vote in the GOP primary election.

I noticed 6th District county board candidate carrying one of Plummer’s signs out of the restaurant.

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