Saturday, March 2, 2013

Illinois State Party Chairman Dispute Intensifies

A local story concerning the debate over the future of the current Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party has finally surfaced. Kerry Lester of The Daily Herald has an article revealing what has been quietly whispered in Republican circles the past few days.

On Saturday, March 9, 2013, a special meeting of the Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee has been called by seven members. Two of the seven members signing the meeting notice represent Lake County, Gene Dawson (8th Congressional District) and Mark Shaw (10th Congressional District). To impeach or remove the current Chairman, Pat Brady, as Chairman of the Central Committee, 60% of the weighted vote of the committeemen is required.

Mark Shaw
Whether those votes are present at that meeting and such a vote is taken, word has leaked out that 10th Congressional Committeeman Mark Shaw may be selected to act as interim chairman until a new chairman is named. According to The Daily Herald, that is what Jack Roeser, a leader of a  conservative movement that has helped to batter and divide the Republican party in Illinois the past few decades, is telling everyone. Roeser reports that he has been calling party leadership with his endorsement of Shaw as interim chairman should Brady be removed.  To be fair to Roeser, he alone did not create the current state of the Illinois Republican Party and its many divisions.  No one person can claim that accomplishment.

Nearly three years ago, all elected committeemen within the 10th Congressional District selected Tolbert Chilsom to represent them on the State Central Committee. One member is elected from each Congressional District in Illinois to serve in such a capacity every four years. These individuals in turn elect the party chairman, who does not have to be an elected committeeman.  By comparison, the  Democrats elect their State Representative directly instead of through committeemen.

Pat Brady
Adding to the confusion, last year, Mr. Chilsom resigned his position after moving out of state. Mark Shaw was elected to replace him by Lake County Chairman Robert Cook and four of the five elected Township Committeemen of Cook County who are part of the 10th Congressional District in a weighted vote. At the time of Shaw's selection, the old boundaries of the 10th Congressional District instead of the newly gerrymandered boundaries that helped elect Brad Schneider to office, were used. And it was perfectly legal. Shaw also continues to serve as West Deerfield Township Chairman in Lake County.

In Cook County, a single Committeemen is elected in each Township during the primary, who then appoints precinct captains to work each precinct.  Outside of Cook County, each precinct elects a committeeman.

Weighted vote? Committeemen of Townships vs. Committeemen of precincts?  Old Boundaries instead of New Boundaries? How the Chairman is elected? Confused?

Welcome to the Illinois Republican Party!  Explaining party rules always results in confused looks.

In a short hand form of explanation, when a committeeman casts a "weighted" vote, he casts the number of Republican votes in his region, instead of just one vote.  Committeemen of Townships are elected by Republican voters during the primary for two year terms in Cook County. Precinct Committeemen outside of Cook County are elected to their positions by Republican voters for two year terms during the primary. The committeemen so elected of each township gather every two years by county and cast "weighted" votes for their County Chairman.  Township Chairman outside of Cook County are elected by "weighted votes" of precinct committeemen within their townships.

The new boundaries of the 10th Congressional District take effect by law during the next primary election in 2014.

We will save the debate of reforming the Republican Party of Illinois and straightening out some of the confusion in how it operates for another (few) postings in the future.  It gets pretty complicated. There seems to be no real consensus on how to make things less confusing.

I'm sure there will be more stories leading up to March 9th, as well as after this special meeting.  How the public in Illinois perceives the actions of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee remains to be seen as well.  Either way, it won't be pretty.

Until then, I'll don my old "cub reporter" hat and do the best I can to keep everyone informed of all further developments as they occur.

1 comment:

  1. It is very clear that they are playing the personally ambitious Mark Shaw for a fool. They offer him an "interim" Chariman spot. They will then dump Shaw almost immediately and replace him with one of their own. Mark will then be alone and done.