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Cook County Republican Party Grapples With Admitting Democrats Into Leadership

1. Chicago Republican Party press release, Tuesday, July 24th:

On Wednesday evening, the Cook County Republican Central Committee is scheduled to vote on a proposal by Chairman Sean Morrison to admit Democrats into leadership positions in several Republican ward organizations. The proposal would eliminate the provision in the bylaws that say that individuals may not have voted Democrat in the last three cycles to hold the office of Republican ward committeeman.

In 2016, several life-long Democrats, some affiliated with the local alderman, ran for office as Republican ward committeemen and were disqualified by the bylaws. Chairman Morrison has stated that he intends to seat them anyway.

The controversial proposal is strongly opposed by a large number of Chicago Republican committeemen who have said they intend to boycott the meeting. The proposal has also drawn strong opposition from the chairman of the Chicago GOP, Chris Cleveland.

Cleveland's statement on the matter is below.

The meeting will be held at:

Gene & Georgetti's Restaurant in Rosemont
Wednesday, July 25
7:30 pm

The meeting is open to the public.


On July 18, Cleveland sent the following e-mail to the Cook County Republican Central Committee:


Next week, you will be asked to vote for a change to the Cook County bylaws which would admit Democrats into leadership positions in the Republican Party. I ask you to vote no.

Sean Morrison's proposed amendment would reduce the amount of time that a person must have pulled Republican ballots to as little as two years. Under that rule, the 13 Democrats we removed as ward committeemen in 2016 would be eligible to be seated. (In 2016, we voted to remove them with 90%+ of the weighted vote.)

Since 2016, a few of those Democrats have sued us. In one case, they lost badly. In two other cases, the judge has said they need a better argument or they'll be dismissed. And in one case - just one - a Cook County Democrat-hack-judge gave one of them a temporary decision based on a small technicality. We, the Republican Party, can fix this technicality in about five minutes.

Nevertheless, Sean has described this as a "final decision" and said that he intends to seat the Democrats. This is false: there is no final decision, and we have filed an appeal. Plus, Sean apparently doesn't understand that seating these Democrats is not within his powers as chairman.

Let me introduce you to some of the fine citizens that this amendment would admit:

Maria Bailey, 20th Ward
Maria is the mother of Kevin Bailey, the Democratic committeeman. Maria had never pulled a Republican ballot prior to running for office. She has a Pritzker sign in her front yard.


George McKinley, 37th Ward
Magically, all of George's petition signatures are identical to the ones for Emma Mitts, the 37th Ward Democratic committeeman and alderman. It seems that someone carried both a Democrat and a Republican petition down the streets of the 37th. Perhaps it isn't magic: George works in Emma's office.

Fran Sapone, 29th Ward
She, too, had never pulled a Republican ballot in her life before she ran for office. She later filed suit before the Chicago Board of Elections, seeking to remove a slated Republican congressional candidate from the ballot, leaving the Democrat with no opponent. Her attorney was the treasurer of the 29th Ward Democrats.

Larry Nelson, 24th Ward
You may have met Larry at previous meetings. Larry has pulled Democratic ballots because, as he said, "you have to." Most people who have met Larry would agree that he is not capable of recruiting and organizing elections judges, and yet year after year, he delivers a stack of perfectly filled-out election judge applications to the Board of Elections, all of whom are Democrats. Wherever could he have gotten them?

Robert Handzik, 23rd Ward
When people talk about Madigoons, they're talking about Handzik. He's in one of Madigan's wards. He circulates petitions for Madigan's fake Republican opponents. No surprise - he was Madigan's fake Republican opponent himself in 2012.

Gabriel Trejo, 13th Ward
The 13th is one of Madigan's wards. I haven't much to say about Gabriel, because he doesn't appear to exist. He doesn't respond to communications, has never shown up, there are no known photographs of him. The only information we have is that he was a reliable Democrat voter until 2016.

Adrian Wright, 3rd Ward
Adrian has a remarkable resume. Let me quote: "Publicist/Media Coordinator, 20th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, Editor, 20th Ward Newspaper; wrote articles, editorials, organized topics and supervised staff for 20th Ward and alderman. Arranged and coordinated press conferences, media appearances and interviews.Organized public relations efforts, recruit speakers for ward events . . . "

And: "7th Ward Outstanding Precinct Captain."

And: "3rd Ward Community Liaison."

She claimed to have been active in the 43rd Ward Republicans, but as someone who has been active in the 43rd Ward Republicans for, oh, 30 years now, I've never seen her.

And my favorite, Steven Graves of the 19th ward
In 2014, Steven had an epiphany at age 61 and decided he was a Republican. This happened after a long career as a patronage hack in the assessor's office, where he claimed to be a top Democratic precinct captain. Steven had voted straight Democrat for decades prior to that, and had contributed every year to the Democratic Party and to the alderman. Seven months after he became a born-again Republican, though, he wrote another check to the Democratic alderman. He still has never contributed to any Republican candidate. He has sued us, and he is represented by the son of a well-known Democratic attorney.

There are more, but you get the idea.

Each of these people will be sitting in the room with you, voting in the Cook County Central Committee just like you. For some of them, your weighted vote might be less than theirs.

Sean writes that by passing the amendment " . . . we will ensure that we will not waste time and resources in litigating the issue." But Sean hasn't wasted any resources. To date, Sean has not participated in the litigation in any manner, except to be an obstacle. Neither he nor the Cook County Republican Party have paid a dime. (Costs have been picked up by the Chicago GOP and me personally.)

So your choice is clear: a vote for the amendment is a vote to seat Democrats as Republican ward committeemen.

Vote no, let the matter drop, and let the litigation play out. This will ensure that we can control our own membership, both now and in future generations.

The Chicago Republican Party intends to continue to pursue each of the cases vigorously, with or without Sean Morrison. We will intend to file in federal court shortly. We're not going to lose. In the words of the judge in the Sapone case (which we won), "This is not a close call."

2. How it played out, via the Cook County Republican Party's website:

"A brief update on the results of tonight's meeting of the Cook County Republican Central Committee.

"We did not reach the required quorum threshold established by the Bylaws of the Cook County Republican Party in order to consider either of the two proposed bylaw amendments.

"That being said, we came away from this meeting with an agreement to strike a compromise between the current voting requirement for Republican Committeemen in Cook County and the proposed amendment to those voting requirements. This compromise strikes a fair balance between our goal to welcome disgruntled Democrats and Independents into our party while also ensuring only genuine Republicans that have demonstrated a strong commitment to growing the party serve in leadership positions.

"In the coming weeks, we will introduce a new amendment to the bylaws that strikes the balance we agreed upon this evening. More details will be announced at a later date.

"Thank you to everyone who came out to tonight's meeting to have their voice heard. We look forward to seeing you again soon."


Comments welcome.


Posted on August 6, 2018

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