(scroll down for Tuesday's update) I just heard from Lauren Turelli, who has widely been rumored to be looking once against at running for a second time in the 58th State Representative District, now that long-time State Rep. Karen May has announced her retirement. Interesting, two other Republicans were looking at the race and anounced their intentions to run, even before May announced her retirement. One of these, Keith Gray (who previously ran against Terry Link for State Senate in the 30th District) is a close friend of mine, and we have been talking extensively about what he would do should Turelli enter the race. Keith told me pretty clearly that, for the good of the party, he would most likely bow out if Turelli officially got in, as Keith's primary goal is to help gain this seat for the GOP -- and he's not ashamed to admit that, given her name recognition, Turelli is likely the stronger candidate.
So -- this morning, TA exclusively learned that Turelli has made up her mind, and she's in. She will announce her candidacy later today and release the following:
REPUBLICAN LEADERS EXCITED BY
LAUREN TURELLI’S RUN FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE
County and state Republican leaders are excited by Lauren Turelli’s decision to seek the office of State Representative for the 58th District. Recently, the state drew new boundaries for District 58 creating a Lake County-centered district with 92% of the voters residing in Lake County and 8% residing in Cook County. Turelli, a Republican from Lake Forest, made an impressive showing in last year’s election against incumbent, Karen May (D-Highland Park), when only 72% of the district’s voters resided in Lake County and 28% resided in Cook County. May surprised many with her recent announcement that she would not seek re-election to a seventh term in the new district.
In announcing her candidacy, Turelli said “I am deeply honored and humbled by the outpouring of support from district residents and Republican Party leaders who have encouraged me to continue the fight to repair the damage done to Illinois by years of mismanagement in Springfield.”
As a small business owner, former teacher, and mother of three, Turelli understands the many challenges placed upon Illinoisans from run-away deficit spending, heavy tax burdens, underperforming schools, and a jobless rate exceeding the national average. More specifically, Turelli noted that, “record numbers of businesses are fleeing Illinois to neighboring states because of Illinois’ hostility to job creators. In addition, Illinois’ irresponsible deficit spending and unfunded pension liabilities have brought the state to the brink of insolvency. Any person seeking to effectively represent the residents of this district in Springfield must begin asking hard questions about expenditures which impose substantial, additional financial burdens upon our already overtaxed residents, and must develop creative solutions to encourage businesses to flock to Illinois instead of fleeing from it.”
Turelli cited her strong support from Republican Party leaders throughout the district, the county and the state. Among her supporters are Mark Shaw, Lou Atsaves and Daniel Bryant, Chairmen of West Deerfield, Moraine and Shields Township GOP organizations, respectively, many of their precinct committeemen, Bob Cook, Chairman of the Lake County GOP, and Representative Ed Sullivan, a member of the Illinois House GOP Leadership Team.
Specifically, West Deerfield GOP Chairman Mark Shaw commented that, “Lauren ran an extremely impressive, issue-oriented campaign against a long-time, incumbent in a strongly Democratic district and did very well. In fact, this time, Lauren only needs to persuade approximately a couple of dozen voters in each of the district’s precincts to shift their support behind her message of fiscal responsibility, a business-friendly environment, and an educational renaissance, for her to represent the residents of the 58th District.”
In addition, Moraine GOP Chairman Lou Atsaves acknowledged that “Lauren’s ability to unite differing viewpoints within the party and among the electorate demonstrates that she will be an even-handed and effective voice for all of us in Springfield. That’s why Township Chairmen from all over Lake County selected her to represent them as Lake County GOP Chairwoman.”
Also, Shields GOP Chairman Daniel Bryant observed that “Lauren’s selection as Lake County’s GOP Chairwoman, as well as her award for generating the highest voter turnout in her precinct in last year’s primary election, demonstrates her broad-range appeal among the electorate.”
Lake County GOP Chairman Bob Cook praised Turelli’s strong leadership skills when he said “I asked Lauren Turelli to serve with me as Lake County GOP Chairwoman because I knew that she had the leadership qualities necessary to bring all factions of our party together in a united effort.”
Finally, Representative Ed Sullivan, a member of the Illinois GOP Leadership Team, congratulated Turelli on her strong showing in the race for State Representative last year by noting that “I was excited by Turelli’s candidacy last year and am even more excited this year because she represents the common sense values that the 58th District deserves, and is our strongest candidate to win this election.”
Turelli also highlighted her diverse experience with fiscal, budgetary and pension-fund issues through her work in institutional finance and her service on numerous volunteer boards. Currently, Turelli serves on the Lake Forest Parks & Recreation Board, which oversees the City’s many parks and beachfront. As a board member for A Safe Place, Lauren was involved in budgeting for a new transitional home for victims of domestic violence. Lauren also served as the Chairman of Lake Forest Caucus’ Second Ward organization. “These responsibilities have prepared me extremely well to represent the residents of this new district at the state level,” Lauren added.
In closing, Lauren said, “my husband, Ken, my three sons, and I have lived in Lake Forest and the district for virtually our entire lives, and we are totally vested in serving our community in particular, and this district in general. It would be a privilege to represent our area in Springfield as a State Representative.”
UPDATE 10/11/12: 7:15 am: I exchanged some e-mails with Keith Gray yesterday and I think it's likely we'll hear something official from him today. I strongly suspect he will relinquish his place and let Lauren Turelli run with it. I also suspect an endorsement announcement is in the works.
Meanwhile, though, the other announced GOP candidate, Dr. Mark Neerhof, isn't quite so ready to back off. Shortly after I got the Turelli press release yesterday, poltical strategist Brad Goodman e-mailed me to make sure I knew that Neerhof wasn't planning on giving Turelli a free ride. I also got a press release to that effect (below). That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. I think Turelli can use the practice to hone her campaign in preparation for taking on the Dem nominee in the general election. The Lake Forest edition of The Patch has the update on the Dems who are looking at the race.
Dr. Mark Neerhof Welcomes Lauren Turelli to the
Race for Illinois’ 58th District
Doctor looks forward to a spirited primary campaign
Lake Forest 10/10/2011—Today, Dr. Mark Neerhof welcomed Lauren Turelli to the GOP Primary for Illinois’ 58th House District.
Campaign Spokesman Brad Goodman said, “Mark was looking forward to being the Republican that would defeat Karen May in November 2012. When Representative May decided not to run for reelection, then Lauren Turelli decided to jump in the race. We look forward to a spirited Primary Campaign with Lauren. Mark is in this campaign to win the GOP Primary and bring the common-sense values of the 58th district to Springfield.”
Neerhof is an obstetrician having served patients in the Chicagoland area for over 20 years. He is an attending physician at NorthShore University HealthSystem and a Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago.
Dr. Neerhof is also an executive board member and founder of the Illinois chapter of Docs4PatientCare, a nationwide organization of physicians committed to a healthcare system that preserves the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship, promotes the quality of care, and supports affordable access to all Americans while protecting patients' freedom.
Neerhof said, “I am running for State Representative because Springfield is broken and nearly bankrupt. The Democrats have done nothing meaningful to bring spending under control, and know of no other response to increasing deficits other than increasing taxes. This approach has cost Illinois hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
Neerhof will bring a fresh perspective as a physician and fiscal conservative. He will work to ensure Illinois gets its fiscal house in order. He will use his expertise as a physician, well versed in matters related to health care reform, to make health care better and more cost-effective. Medicaid is the leading budget item in Illinois and is rapidly growing. It is wasteful and inefficient and needs to be reformed.
Neerhof’s priorities for Springfield also include:
• Reversing the 66% tax increase that Karen May voted for in January and keeping taxes low for individuals and businesses in Illinois
• Cutting fees and regulations on small business that cost Illinoisans their jobs
• Reforming Illinois’ public pension system
Neerhof is committed to ensure his campaign will have the funding needed to win both races and become the next State Representative for Illinois’58th district.