I was very proud today to participate in the Libertyville Township GOP endorsement session, led by longtime Township Chairman John Emerson, a Libertyville attorney. Emerson orchestrated an impressive event, which started before 9:00 a.m. and did not wrap up until 5:00 p.m. We knew we were in for a bit of a marathon session given that candidates in most of the races got an amazing 10 minutes each to talk and answer questions (a handful of the downballot races like comptroller ended up getting 5 minutes each). In total, by my count, we heard from 35 candidates over the course of the day, so you can understand why it took a while.
As often happens, some segments ran a bit long, so we ended up about an hour and a half over the scheduled time for the day, but every one of the committeemen (as well as the candidates) whom I spoke with was glad of the opportunity to hear more from the candidates than the standard 2 or 3 minutes that most townships allow due to time constraints. I think it speaks a lot of the commitment of our township committeemen that they were willing to sacrifice an entire day to give our GOP candidates a full hearing and make a decision based on as much information as we could obtain.
I also have to say that I was really, truly impressed with the quality of the candidates who presented themselves today. Many of them I knew, but some, like Lt. Governor candidates Jason Plummer and Brad Cole, Comptroller candidates William Kelly and Jim Dodge, U.S. Senate candidate John Arrington, and 10th Congressional District candidate Arie Friedman, were impressive candidates who I had never met or had much exposure to. Many of these candidates had compelling personal stories and great ideas. And, I have to say, with only a very few exceptions, I really think that the crop of GOP candidates we are fielding are people of great intelligence, integrity and vision.
Simply put, the GOP candidates for Illinois offices get it. They realize that the state has been mortgaged almost to the point of bankruptcy by former Governor Blagojevich and the rest of the Democratic party, and it has reached a crisis situation. The constant refrain of the day was 'jobs, jobs, jobs,' followed closely by clamping down on spending, reforming the state pension plans, and reducing the deficit. The rest of the state is starting to realize the disaster brought on by years of one-party rule, and the GOP as a whole is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of many Republican victories in November 2010. But, they all realize that a GOP landslide is not just going to fall into our laps, no matter how favorable the political climate may be.
In any case, here's the run-down of the endorsements for Libertyville township. Note that where no candidate got at least 60% of the vote after two rounds of voting, no endorsement was made, but in certain cases, the top three voter-getters were noted. I should say that in races where there was no endorsement, that certainly does not mean that no candidate merited the endorsement; quite the opposite, in fact, as it really means that many of the candidates are so good, it was simply too hard to pick among them to get a 60% majority for any one candidate.
First up is Congressman Mark Kirk, who won the endorsement for U.S. Senate in the first round of voting (I also heard that he won Maine Township today, something like 48-1). Mark covered a number of topics, from policy to politics, and as usual, impressed the committeemen with his experience and deep grasp of foreign policy. An honorable TA mention goes to my friend Patrick Hughes, who is dipping his toes into his first political race. From what I saw this morning, Pat has matured a lot as a candidate, and even deftly handled the policy question on Iran that I threw at him. If it wasn't for the fact that Pat was running against Mark Kirk, I'd probably support him, but there are very few people who can really hold a candle to Mark Kirk, and Pat simply isn't there yet. I look forward to great things from Pat if he stays involved in politics, but the choice this morning was clearly Mark Kirk as the best candidate, and the best hope for retaking this U.S. Senate seat.
In the Governor's race, there was a second round of voting but still no clear 60% winner. Thus, the top vote-getters, in order of the greatest number of votes, was former Attorney General Jim Ryan, political consultant Dan Proft, and DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom.
For Lt. Governor, State Senator Matt Murphy was endorsed after a second round of voting.
In the 8th Congressional District, Long Grove Mayor Maria Rodriguez was endorsed after a second round.
In the 10th Congressional District, there was no 60% winner after two rounds of voting, and the top vote-getters were State Rep. Beth Coulson, businessman Bob Dold, and veteran navy pilot and physician Arie Friedman.
For Comptroller, Jim Dodge was endorsed (note the correction from earlier where we erroneoulsy reported that there was no endorsement).
Finally, in the 59th District, our favorite attorney Dan Sugrue won the first round vote for the endorsement (Sugrue was also endorsed by Vernon Township last Monday night).
Appellate Court Justices Mary Schostok and Ann Jorgenson were also endorsed.
Yawn. Time for a nap now.
12/13.09 ALSO- I was remiss in not noting that per our tradition in Libertyville, all non-contested primary candidates were endorsed as a pro-forma matter, which include Sheriff Mark Curran, County Clerk Willard Helander, Treasurer Bob Skidmore, Superintendent of Schools Roycealee Wood, and Judge Wally Dunn.