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.
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.
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.