Reprinted with permission of The Illinoize newsletter:
Schofield on Cancer, Family, and a Moderate Joining the Ticket with a Conservative
by Patrick Pfingsten, The Illinoize
On her first night on the campaign trail for Lt. Governor, we spoke to Carolyn Schofield as she traveled in between campaign stops in the Quad Cities yesterday afternoon and events planned Wednesday in St. Clair County and her running mate, former Sen. Paul Schimpf’s hometown of Waterloo.
Schofield is an engineer by trade and earned high marks by many “traditional” or “establishment” Republicans for her service on the Crystal Lake City Council and McHenry County Board. She was considered the establishment pick in her 2016 primary for State Representative, but momentum for bombastic right winger Allen Skillicorn derailed her plans.
Schofield’s 2020 rematch with Skillicorn was derailed by fundraising problems and another issue she hasn’t spoken publicly about until now: cancer.
She was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer during the 2020 primary campaign, even undergoing surgery to remove parts of her kidneys and underwent treatment while trying to keep up a campaign schedule.
“I never wanted to look weak,” she said. “But, now I feel the more public I am with issues that arise in our everyday lives, [it can help] be more compassionate with people because of that.”
Schofield says she has received a clean bill of health from her doctors and is considered “cancer free.”
Paul Schimpf was never really on her radar, Schofield says. It wasn’t until mutual acquaintances connected them last summer and a series of phone calls ensued. Schofield says she thought Schimpf was looking for her endorsement or help in McHenry County, and never felt like she was being vetted for Lt. Governor.
“When he asked me to be Lt. Governor, I did a lot of soul searching,” Schofield said. “I found that his values were true to my values and I’ve learned in my past races that even if I don’t win, the one thing I want to walk away with is my integrity. And I felt that no matter how this race turns out, I can still do that.”
Schimpf asked Schofield to join the ticket last fall. Schofield took a “few weeks” to mull it over with her husband and three kids, age 16, 18, and 21, before agreeing to join him shortly before Christmas.
You could consider Schimpf and Schofield on the opposite sides of the Republican Party. Schimpf is a fiscal and social conservative, while Schofield would be considered moderate.
She says while they likely won’t line up perfectly on every issue, but they plan to present a set of ideas and performance goals to voters.
“We line up on the issues that we feel need to be addressed in this state right now,” Schofield said. “We line up on the approach we should take and how we should have those conversations and how the solutions would evolve.
She says the two haven’t compared every issue yet, but said they’re open to listening to each other on the issues they’re passionate as their campaign moves on.
By the way, if you ask Schofield about things she’s passionate about, it isn’t your standard Republican laundry list. She mentioned government efficiencies, property taxes, and mental health services as priorities.
Schimpf has languished behind the rest of the GOP field in fundraising and, at times, has felt like an “also-ran” in the race. Schofield says she thinks the best candidate will rise to the top no matter the financial disadvantages.
“Money, yes, helps a great deal to get your message out,” she said. “People that meet him can relate to his message and it’s inspiring to hear it. When it comes from the heart and it’s truthful, that resonates with people.”
GOP frontrunner Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) has chosen former talk radio host Stephanie Trussell as his running mate and businessman Gary Rabine is set to announce former Cook County GOP Chair Aaron Del Mar as his running mate in the coming days. Venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan has not yet selected his running mate, we’re told.