Why Did Gottemoller Lose?

Signs for the "Red Team."

Signs for the “Red Team” before Election Day.

The Red Team went one for four in Tuesday’s elections.

Only Judge James Cowlin won.

It was clear that Red Team member Dan Regna had a formidable opponent in Assistant McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally.

Patrick Kenneally was not part of the Red Team.

Patrick Kenneally was not part of the Red Team.

Kenneally left nothing to chance.

He planned for Regna to have big money coming in.  (He was not hindered by campaign limit laws in 2008.)

But, big bucks never showed up the way it did for him eight years ago when he ran against Lou Bianhci.

It turned out that pretty much all Regna had was signs.

Joni Smith was also big on the sign front, as were Judge James Cowlin and County Board Chairman Joe Gottemoller.

One can surmise that Smith lost because Joe Tirio proposed a completely achievable method to save over $100,000 a year by abolishing the office he was seeking.

Having seen the mess made of the primary election by County Clerk Mary McClellan, people now wonder if she should be trusted to run the Recorder of Deeds Office.

But such people don’t realize there will be another election for County Clerk before the Recorder could be “erased,” to use Tirio’s language.

There is little reason to think that McClellan will be on the ballot in 2018.

She would have to win a Republican Party Primary Eleciton.

On second thought, if more than one person runs against her, she might win re-nomination.

That would give the Democrats a real chance of taking a countywide office.

(You’ll see why when I get a chance to report on what happened at Wednesday’s meeting of the McHenry County Democratic Party Central Committee.)

Joe Gottemoller's yard signs radiated authority and incumbency.

Joe Gottemoller’s yard signs radiated authority and incumbency.

So, why did County Board Chairman Joe Gottemoller lose?

Pretty much everybody who was anybody in times past supported him.

The only reason I can come up with is that he appeared (and was) more “Establishment” than his opponent Mike Walkup.

Even his little signs had the word “Chairman” on top.

I’d guess this attempt to project authority may not have been helpful.

If being an outsider–as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are–is helpful this year, Walkup would have likely benefited from that.

No one has EVER accused Walkup of being an insider.

(What a mind wrenching change taking office will be in December.)

Mike Walkup's yard sign was an attack on the Establishment.

Mike Walkup’s yard sign was an attack on the Establishment.

No one would ever think of Walkup as an insider.

All one has to do is see the way his County Board colleagues tolerate his speeches on the County Board floor.

I should add the adverb “barely” to the verb “tolerate.”

For three years Gottemoller has been in the news, first for re-writing the county’s zoning ordinance, now called the “Unified Development Ordinance,” then as County Board Chairman.

There can be no denying he was part of “the System.”

As Donald Trump’s and Ted Cruz’ successes demonstrate, a very large portion of the Republican electorate is fed up with the way that Republicans have been running things.

I thought that referred only to the way congressional Republicans were not doing what they could when they could, most recently in passing the budget bill that pretty completely pleased President Barack Obama.

Having seen Walkup victorious over Gottemoller, I’m wondering if the dissatisfaction with Republican Establishment figures may be more widespread than Washington.

Maybe it extends to Republicans in control here in McHenry County.

Gottemoller was endorsed by the “Power Elite” in McHenry County.

He got their money. He got their sign sites.

Joni Smith may have been hurt by working in the Recorder of Deeds Office and being endorsed by long-time incumbent Recorder Phyllis Walters.

That analysis may break down, however, when one looks at how strongly Patrick Kenneally was promoted by his boss, McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi.

So, what about Judge James Cowlin’s victory?

He certainly was endorsed by most attorneys who practice at the bar in the Courthouse.

But, there is a difference between Cowlin and Gottemoller.

Cowlin has not been in the news.

Nobody has covered his courtroom the eight years he has been on the bench.

And the Cowlin name is well-known with his father and grandfather having been Judges and his uncle having been State’s Attorney the last two years I was County Treasurer

The wind on Election Day not only blew over the candidacies of Dan Regna, Joni Smith and Joe Gottemoller, but it also did damage to their signs. As of today, only Cowlin had removed his sign from this display.

The wind on Election Day not only blew over the candidacies of Dan Regna, Joni Smith and Joe Gottemoller, but it also did damage to their signs. As of today, only Cowlin had removed his sign from this display.

Whatever the reasons (and I am sure that readers will add their takes), the Red Team did not have a winning night.

Cowlin was its only bright spot.


Why Did Gottemoller Lose? — 27 Comments

  1. Many people like myself remember Power Plant Joe wanting to put a monstrous power plant in our backyards and next to our school.

    Joe wants us to think that it was only business but it’s his neighborhood too.

    Seems to me it was all about the money!

    Mike Walkup stood with the opposition to the power plant.

    Thanks again Mike!

  2. They took red because they are all Bolsheviks of one kind or another.

    Let’s vote the rat Cowlin, who dreams he’s entitled to the judicial spot through hereditary privilege out the next time he comes up for retention.

  3. You are right, Cal. It’s not so much that he lost, but that people voted against him!

    Didn’t matter who the other guy was at all.

    I truly don’t understand the old guard holding up Cowlin.

    If they could do that, why not Joe?

    It matters not who you vote for – it matters who counts the votes?

  4. Ive not heard anything definitive in the results yet? Are they still tabulating votes? This is the biggest unapologetic mess I’ve ever seen! McClellan will never recover from this!

  5. She should not have recovered from the Cook County flub that CAl wrote about yet she came out here and grabbed a plum office.

  6. Walkup won mainly with his “anti tax” message which will prove completely false as will saving any money “erasing the recorder”

  7. I think it means that the voters selected those they felt best for the offices, whether your agree with the majority decision or not in a given race.

    In listening to the folks who post the most here and others who involve themselves the most in party politics, I find people who tend to think in terms of factions.

    They do that because that is how they separate themselves, and organize themselves into groups seeking control within political parties.

    The voters do not necessarily view it that way, and may simply look at who they think is best for the office.

    They could be wrong, they could rely on bad information, they could make poor decisions, but that is a reasonable way to explain it.

    I never voted a straight ticket in general elections (and now I am wondering whether that is even an option on ballots any more), but I will research the prevalence of straight ticket voting when and where it was or is allowed.

    To put it another way, voters who are not the insiders in a faction maybe do not want to be told which faction is the good and which is the bad.

    They may not seek or care about that sort of team allegiance.

  8. Joe lost for a few reasons,

    Peaker Plant issue and the way Township Consolidation was handled and his vote against it cost Joe votes.

    The Red Team nonsense cost him a little, but the other two loses of votes made up the majority of Mike Walkups gained votes.

    Joni lost mostly because of the nepotism tag and the now negative insider tag that use to win most elections.

    Three way race helped Lt Joe his timing was perfect, Joni vs Lt Joe the results would of favored Joni most likely.

    After the economic turn down a few years ago, the rules of the game has changed.

    A couple of the die hard’s got reelected because they saw the change and flipped to the other side.

    Yet those few that got reelected have voted for levy increases in the past, so playing for the right team at the right time can still get partisan help even if it’s against team rules to raise taxes.

    Disingenuous still rules this county, just another team with a different title.

  9. Gottemoller can thank his Township porcine friends …

    I can’t tell you how many people said

    “If they support him, he must be bad!”

    Nice work Township crooks!

  10. Straight voting has not been an option since 1994, when Chicago Democrats ran the “Punch 10” campaign.

    The Republicans under Lee Daniels and Pate Philip changed the law allowing that option then.

  11. Mike Walkup is right, the people are ready for reform.

    And, people are no longer going through their daily routines without being aware of what is happening in McHenry County Government.

  12. Considering the total votes cast, sleeping through elections is still the preferred method of dealing with gov.

  13. It’s in front of the store near the Lakewood Village Hall.

  14. A series of bad decisions by Joe Goettemoller sent my vote to Walkup.

    Starting with appointing Ken Koehler to the Metra Board.

    Screamed of a man without an independent thought.

    I would very much have liked to vote on the township consolidation issue.

    Other reasons, as well.

    Establishment (hello Tryon, as well) should get the message.

    Did they ever read the story of the Emporer’s New Clothes??

  15. Cal: Thank you for the answer on straight ticket voting. I’m glad it is gone.

  16. Joe lost because he tried to send he people of Crystal Lake up the creek with a peaker plant ran by the Canadians!

    He still holds his council seat and needs to go.

    Let’s get him outta there before he sells out again.

    Way to go Mike!

  17. “Disingenuous still rules this county, just another team with a different title.”

    Nob, I fear you may be correct with this statement… While I am optomistic, I am very cautiously optomistic…

  18. Perhaps Joe lost because he was “spectacularly inept” at presenting himself to the voters.

  19. Cal forgot to mention that one of the reasons is the growing influence of this blog.

    Candidates are no longer limited to what the local newspaper, which has it’s own agenda, wants to have them see.

    Readers here can also comment and get into the weeds on various issues, rather than be satisfied with the increasingly superficial political coverage offered by print media.

    If you read the stories they run it is obvious that they have decided that prep sports, human interest, car crashes and crime are what sell newspapers.

    Politics is b o r i n g.

    The Northwest Herald did not even do endorsements of County Board candidates this year, leaving it to the Daily Herald, which is barely read here, to do that for them.

    As far as promises are concerned, I invite all of the readers and commentators here to hold my feet, and those of the other new Board Members, to the proverbial fire.

    We are listening, and will continue to do so.

    Thanks to everyone here for their support.

    I am convinced that it made the difference.

  20. Did Anna May have red and white signs?

    Clearly, the township consolidation issue was kept from the people by several of the losers!

    Now, we can all agree Anna May is a loser.

    Had the question of consolidation gone to the people as opposed to hijacked from the people, maybe that would be a game changer.

    Schofield was a key part in keeping that issue from reaching the people, so was Anna May as was Joe.

    Each of them with an interest in preserving township status quo.

    Thus, it’s clear Township consolidation was a factor.

    Importantly, the hit pieces against Anna May were effective.

    If any candidate is fielded for Algonquin Twnp Highway Commissioner, lookout Millers.

    Don’t think for a second that there will be significant support for dismantling the Miller’s kingdom.

    There is nothing the Millers can do to stop that fight from coming.

    Bob Miller- if you’re paying attention to this at all, get ready to pack your bags.

    Tell your two son in laws and your wife that they better figure out how to “earn” a living because when your term is up, the cushy “jobs” won’t continue.

    And get used to the idea that Anna May won’t find a job as a part time secretary making anything near $97,000.

    Joe lost not just on the question of consolidation, but on the absolute fact that the people are pissed off that politicians are self dealing bozos.

    Had joe played it straight on the township issue (abstained) he would have had far deeper support.

    And by straight I mean not withholding from “We the people” the power to decide the issue.

  21. So what you’re saying is that Jack Franks will be the next County Board Chairman?

    Because judging by the newest article up the thread, that seems to be already starting…

  22. Mike, while the printed NHW is useless, the on line site has easily more comments on it than this blog.

    More Dem commentators so in some ways it’s a better source of fair and balanced info.

    As far as holding your feet to the fire, you didn’t have to give us permission it will be so. 🙂

    Come with a Plan Mike, a good plan with legisaltion changes needed first, numbers not hope, and facts, or you’re toast. LOL

  23. I’m with the others for not voting for Joe: his role in the peaker plant fiasco, which I never stopped reminding people about.

    That and that he portrays and acts out that “republican establishment” persona that I’m fed up with.


    A vote against nepotism, plain and simple.

    And Mike W., you’re spot on.

    If it was not for this blog I would have to count myself among the masses of uninformed voters.

  24. Can’t really argue with any of the reasons suggested. However, I suspect that if the County Board would have hired a consultant to study Township consolidation rather than stirring up divisions by trying to study it in-house, several races might have turned out differently.

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