Monday, August 29, 2011

Republican Assembly of Lake County Serves Up Fun and Food at Annual Picnic; Walsh Won't Run Against Dold

This past weekend, I attended the Republican Assembly of Lake County (RALC) 10th Annual Picnic in Wauconda, and wow, was the weather great! After a summer of too many storms and too much heat and humidity, it seems that we're finally catching a break these last few weeks of summer, and about 100 people attended the RALC event and took advantage of it.

Lots of elected officials and candidates attended, including Congressmen Bob Dold (pictured above getting his custom-made burger) and Joe Walsh, State Senators Suzi Schmidt and Dan Duffy, State Representatives Ed Sullivan, Jr. and Sandy Cole, and many others.

While many elected officials gave lively and energizing speeches, no one was as animated and fired-up as Congressman Joe Walsh, who in addition to firing up the crowd, was emphatic that his fellow Congressman Bob Dold needed to be re-elected and sent back to Congress next term. While Walsh did not say so explicitly, one would think that Walsh's statements at the picnic definitively rules out a run for Walsh in the 10th District GOP primary against Dold. Walsh did not further elaborate on his plans, though he made it pretty clear he thought he was needed back in Washington.

Here's the pix:

Below, State's Attorney Candiate Bryan Winter laughs with ASA Rod Drobinski.

Another State's Attorney candidate and current ASA Louise Hayes is flanked by Mundelein Trustee Ed. Sullivan, Sr. and his son, State Rep. Ed Sullivan, Jr.

Long Grove Mayor Maria Rodriguez, County Board Chairman David Stolman, and State Senator Suzi Schmidt.

Bryan Winter talks with Congressman Bob Dold.

Ed Sullivan, Jr., Bob Cook, and County Board candidate David Pfeifer.

Candidate for County Coroner Steve Newton.

State Rep. candidate Greg Jacobs and State's Attorney candidate Mike Nerheim.

One of TA's biggest fans, Libertyville Committeeman Bob Goodman.

RALC founder Colonel Raymond True gets the program started.

State Senator Dan Duffy fires up the crowd.

The crowd.

GOP County Chairman Bob Cook points out the attending elected officials and candidates.

State Senator Suzi Schmidt and Congressman Joe Walsh.

Yours truly, Team America, with Bob Dold and Green Oaks Trustee Dan Sugrue.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ASA Louise Hayes Joins Republicans Running for Lake County State's Attorney

My friend Louise Hayes, who I have known for years, has announced her candidacy for Lake County State's Attorney, in the wake of long-time State's Attorney Michael Waller's retirement. Hayes has hired Brad Goodman for PR, and has been making calls and sending fundraising e-mails and the like for the past month or so.

Hayes's angle is to be "Lake County's First Female State's Attorney," which isn't a bad hook. Hayes has many years of experience in the office, but given the recent blasting that Waller has taken over the past year or two regarding the Jerry Hobbs issue and other DNA-related kerfuffles, it will be very interesting to see if Hayes's deep prosecutorial experience ends up being a hindrance or a help. Hayes has been pointing out that she personally has had nothing to do with any of the DNA cases that have caught the attention of the media.

Hayes joins private municipal attorney Bryan Winter and former ASA (now in private practice) Mike Nerheim in the race on the GOP side, and another former ASA Chris Kennedy and former AUSA Scott Drury on the Dem side.

Here's Hayes' press release:

Louise Hayes Announces Candidacy for Lake County State’s Attorney
Only Career Prosecutor to Enter the GOP Primary Aims to Become Lake County’s First Female State’s Attorney

Lake Bluff 8/23/2011—Today, Louise Hayes a veteran of the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office announced her candidacy for the GOP nomination for Lake County State’s Attorney. Hayes has served under both former State’s Attorney Fred Foreman and current State’s Attorney Mike Waller.

Hayes has prosecuted hundreds of cases on behalf of the people of Lake County and has a thorough understanding of the justice system. She also prides herself on working for victims’ rights. Currently she works in the Mental Health Court, the Veterans' Court, and runs the Grand Jury. Each Grand Jury meets weekly for four months, and indicts those charged with murder, sexual assaults, weapons violations, and numerous other violent or property offenses. Hayes recently extradited from Mexico a fugitive who is awaiting trial on a murder charge in Lake County.

Hayes said, “I will work with the County Board and its budgetary constraints, as tough times call for tough measures, but I will always ensure that justice is served in the Lake County.”

In addition to keeping the office running within budget and ensuring justice, Hayes also has set goals to:

• Continue excellent programs run by the office including the Lake County Domestic Violence Council, the Lake County Children’s' Advocacy Center, and the Major Crash Assistance Team.

• Reallocate funds to the Cyber Crime Division. This division of the office prosecutes criminals who misuse the internet, for example those who prey on young children.

• Protect the ever-growing elderly population from abuse, by continued collaboration with outside Lake County agencies. This includes continued training of law enforcement personnel to recognize the abuse that elders suffer at the hands of others.

• Implement a post-conviction review board made up of attorneys, law enforcement personnel, scientists, and other representatives of the community.

Hayes is a graduate of Stevenson High School, and has lived in Lincolnshire, Buffalo Grove and Lake Bluff. She is a graduate of Purdue University and of John Marshall Law School. She and her husband have been married for close to 25 years and have four children, all educated in Lake County's public schools.

Hayes expects both a challenging Primary and General Election and has committed to ensure her campaign will have the funding needed to win both races and become Lake County’s first female State’s Attorney.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

State Rep. Sid Mathias To Challenge Fellow State Rep. Carol Sente in Remapped 59th Legislative District (UPDATED WITH PRESS RELEASE)

Political watchdogs in northeastern Illinois have been speculating ever since the Dems released their new map that incumbent Republican State Rep. Sid Mathias (53rd Dist.) and incumbent Democrat State Rep. Carol Sente (59th District) might go head-to-head in 2012, as the Dems saw fit to draw Mathias (barely) into Sente's 59th District. Such a race would pit two well-known, moderate and likeable incumbents, one center-right, and one center-left, battling for the hearts and minds of the middle, in an area of the state known for ticket-splitting and often choosing personality over politics when it comes to their elected officials.

It looks like that nuclear scenario is going to come to pass, as Sid Mathias has finally made up his mind, and will run in the new 59th District in 2012. Mathias told Team America this afternoon that he "is looking forward to a positive race on the issues with Carol." Sid knows that this will be a challenging race, but told me that he feels very good about his decision and is very enthusiastic about getting started with his campaign.

The Dems have recently taken a lot of heat for playing redistricting games and delighted in drawing various incumbents and threatening candidates into or out of current districts to protect the Dem-favored incumbents wherever possible (Mathias's house is a mere two blocks or so into the newly-revised 59th District). The Dems may have just been a little too smart for their own good this time, though, as the choice to stick an experienced, well-known and affable candidate like Mathias into a district with a relative newbie like Sente is more than a bit of a risk. In fact, it may be that whatever college intern working for Madigan who helped with the map may not have noticed that while the new 59th District doesn't include much of Sid's current district (53) -- no doubt by design -- it actually does include somewhere around half of Sid's previous district (which had much more of Lake County in it than it has now) before the last remap in 2000, as Sid pointed out to me.

"I'm looking forward to re-acquainting myself with many of my old constituents, and meeting new ones as well," Sid told me, a bit tongue-in-cheek.

But, the Dems are the ones who may not be laughing too hard come next November. As a longtime State Rep, and a former mayor of Buffalo Grove (not to mention one that has a train station named after him), Sid has first-tier name recognition all over the area. I am convinced that Sid is the best possible candidate that the GOP could have hoped to run in this district; we now have a real shot at taking this one back.

Sid plans to send out an official press release later tomorrow.

Photo shamelessly stolen from: LakeCountyEye

UPDATED 8/22/11 11:00 am: Here is the text of the long-awaited press release:

Veteran Lawmaker Stays Put, Will Run for State House

State Representative and former Mayor of Buffalo Grove Sid Mathias (R, Buffalo Grove) is announcing his intention to run for re-election to the 59th Representative District citing his longstanding reputation for finding solutions in Springfield accompanied by a strong need to maintain the fiscally conservative momentum created this past Spring.

“People are desperate for leadership right now, pragmatic leadership willing to work together to find solutions,” said Mathias. “As a full time legislator, I have a proven track record for not only protecting taxpayers, but also cutting through the bureaucratic clutter to bring real ideas forward,” he added.

Throughout his career, Mathias has used his background in law and local government to carve out a place in Springfield, focusing on local transit, mental health, municipal and legal issues. He currently serves as Minority Spokesperson on the Cities and Villages and Mass Transit committees. He also sits on the Judiciary Civil Law, State Government Administration and Tollway Oversight committees.

As a consistent taxpayer advocate, Mathias took the lead, immediately proposing the first legislative to roll-back the Cook County sales tax (HB715, 96th GA) on the heals of the massive sales tax hike. His legislation helped drive the discussion and pushed Democrats into finding a solution.

With an eye on public safety, Mathias successfully sponsored several pieces of legislation aimed at enhancing the public safety of children by cracking down on internet solicitation (HB3283), requiring parental controls by internet providers (HB3289) and by allowing schools to expel student for gross disobedience and bullying via the internet (HB3281).

Understanding job creation is perhaps the most important step to recovery, Mathias successfully guided a measure through the house this past spring aimed at workforce development. The measure, HB2927, sought to create job growth by providing business incentives to hire additional workers by fully leveraging the federal funds provided by both the Emergency Employment Development Act as the 21st Century Workforce Development Fund.

In addition to his work on statewide issues, Mathias has also consistently engaged in local problems, including the ongoing need to expand Route 53 and the continued expansion of commuter rail service. As Mayor of Buffalo Grove, he was a leading force in bringing commuter rail service to Buffalo Grove and beyond, and served as Chair of the North Central Metra Service Mayoral Task force, eventually leading to the Buffalo Grove station bearing his name. And as recently as last month, Mathias was named and ex-officio member of the Illinois Route 53 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council. The Council is charged with bringing a regional consensus on whether to move forward with the Lake County Corridor expansion

“This will be a tough election. However, I am not only looking forward to reconnecting with many of my former constituents, but also continuing to challenge those in Springfield who can’t seem to stop spending,” stated Mathias. “There is an urgent need to continue the positive momentum towards fiscal conservatism that was created last spring, and I am up for this challenge”

The tough election Mathias is referring to ultimately stems from the recent redistricting process in which Mathias was “redrawn” into an entirely new legislative district that will contain over 95% new territory for the veteran lawmaker. Ironically, this is not a new situation for Mathias, who found himself with the same choice ten years ago when the same legislative Democrats who crafted this map drew him out of his old district.

As the longtime mayor of Buffalo Grove, Mathias was elected to the Legislature in 1998. He is a graduate from Roosevelt University and the DePaul University College of Law and is a semi-retired attorney. His wife, Rita, is a retired teacher from School District #102 and they have two married sons; Elliot, a graduate of Northwestern University and Scott, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. He and Rita have six grandchildren.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dr. Arie Friedman to Announce for 29th District State Senate Seat in Wake of Susan Garrett's Retirement (UPDATED)

As we hinted at previously, Dr. Arie Friedman of Highland Park has decided to throw his hat in the ring to run for the new 29th District State Senate seat in 2012, for which incumbent Susan Garrett has decided not to run for again. You can view his committee documentation here.

As Team America readers know well, Friedman ran a good race in the Republican primary against now-Congressman Bob Dold in last cycle's 10th Congressional District race, and has stayed active in the local political scene. He is very well thought of in the party among both conservatives and moderates. He also recently started a PAC, focused on heathcare and health insurance reform. Friedman is a navy veteran, having served as a wartime helicopter pilot and is currently a pediatrican in private practice. He and his wife Michelle are the proud parents of five children.

Friedman talked to Team America this weekend and told us that, after careful consideration, he's made his decision, and he's in.

"I will be making a formal announcement regarding my intentions in the 29th State Senate District at the end of the month," Friedman told Team America. "In the meantime, setting up this campaign committee is an essential step towards building a team, raising money, and making sure we hit the ground running. I'm very grateful to the friends and supporters who've been encouraging me to run - not the least of whom is Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran who has volunteered to be my campaign chairman."

Friedman pointed out that "one of the most important characteristics of the new 29th District is its very high percentage of independent voters. I strongly believe that independent minded citizens see how dangerous and unacceptable our fiscal situation has become. Frankly, Michelle and I are afraid that our own children won't be able to stay in Illinois if things continue this way. We should all be asking ourselves how much of what has gone on in Illinois for the past decade do we want more of?"

Friedman is going to be a formidable candidate. Just his military service alone impresses:

Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Friedman served in the United States Navy as a helicopter pilot. During his seven years of active duty, Dr. Friedman flew SH-60B Seahawk helicopters out of Naval Air Station North Island, California, from which he deployed twice, including once to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Storm. Upon completing his fleet tour, Dr. Friedman returned to Pensacola, Florida, as a military Instructor Pilot teaching advanced helicopter operations and tactics. During the span of his naval aviation career, Dr. Friedman conducted 406 shipboard landings including 183 at night.


Friedman told me he likely will be making his official announcement at a campaign event he has planned for Monday, August 29th. More details on that to come. Friedman's website, though not yet active, will be

So far, no other Republicans have come forward in the wake of Garrett's retirement announcement to announce their candidacy. Current State Rep. Sid Mathias was rumored to be considering a run for the spot, among exploring other options. I was skeptical of that report, until I discussed it with Sid himself, who confirmed to me that the 29th senate seat was on his radar, but he had not yet made up his mind. I told Sid I really hoped he would decide to run again for state rep in the redrawn 59th Legislstive District, into which his home was mapped, which would pit him against current Democrat Carol Sente. I think Sid would have a great chance against Sente, and Friedman would be a great candidate in the 29th, especially given the lackluster field that the Dems seem to be contemplating now. Hopefully these guys can work it out.

I'm getting more excited about the 2012 cycle than ever. Thoughts, reactions?

UPDATED 9:00 pm: I am waiting for a call back from Sid Mathias to confirm, but very reliable sources are telling me that Sid has made up his mind and will challenge incumbent Carol Sente in the 59th Legislative District. Much more on this later.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Quinn Pick of Giannoulias to Head Community College Board Widely Panned

The latest "huh, what?" headshaker regarding a long list of individuals tapped by Governor Quinn for important state positions or jobs without -- seemingly -- much in the way of qualifications except for political connections --is really taking this issue to a new level. Earlier this week, Quinn appointed former U.S. Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias -- who of course lost the race to our own Mark Kirk -- to head the state's community college board. This position, albeit an unpaid one, is simply the latest in a series of questionable appointments given to political cronies and influencers in the Democratic party, which appointments have attracted much attention and criticism from the Tribune and others.

Giannoulias's appointment to this position lacks even any semblance of credulity given his lack of credentials. Even the appointment of three-time loser Dan Seals to a high-level position in the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity was more defensible, given that Seals had actually worked in the private sector (even if sporadically, and not recently) and had a few business degrees.

Alexi's qualifications for this new position? Well, to our knowledge, he's never attended a community college (his degrees are from Boston University and Tulane Law School). He's never taught at one (yes, we know he's going to be teaching a class this fall at NU, but so far, he's never taught a single student). He's never had any experience with higher education from a faculty or administrative level of any kind.

What he does have, though, is the need to build up his thin resume and keep his name in the paper to keep momentum going for whatever his political endgame is. U.S. Senate 2014 (stepping into Dick Durbin's shoes as he retires), anyone?

Uncle Pat, "Mr. Reform Our Government," to the rescue!

Quinn's track record of questionable appointments is really taking heat in the press and the blogosphere, topped off by this latest embarrassment. Even our own Lake County News Sun is shaking its head.

Used to be, people were chosen to lead our state government based on what they could do for it, not what the postion could do for them.

Sad, sad, sad.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tribune Looks at Dem Redistricting Games

None of this is news to us political junkies, since as soon we saw the new map that was proposed, we could tell that the Dems were playing games with the district boundaries to keep their incumbents safe, but the Trib today does a nice job of connecting the dots to show how all over the Chicago metro area, the Dems carved out Republican and even some non-incumbent Dem competition to protect their favored sons and daughters.

Take former state senate candidate Keith Gray, for example, who lives in Mettawa just down the road from me. Except next cycle, he will be in a new district, where the line placing him in Republican State Senator Dan Duffy's district, instead of his former district, in which Democrat Terry Link is the incumbent, goes right down the street out his front door. I'm still in Terry Link's district (lucky me), but Keith was drawn into the district next door. Any guesses why?

Senator Link, of course, flatly denies he would stoop so low as to play such games:

"It's kind of blatant, but I kind of expected it," said Gray, president of Rondout School District 72.

Link, the Lake County Democratic chairman, dismisses the notion that a Gray rematch was considered in the mapmaking.

"I got to tell you something, and I'll swear on a stack of Bibles — I don't even know where Keith Gray lives," Link said. "I could care less where Keith Gray lives. ... Do you really think I lose sleep over Keith Gray?"

Meethinks the gentleman doth protest too much.

Notice, however, that he did not give someone direction to map Gray out of his district. He just says he doesn't know exactly where Gray lives.

In case you might just think this is a coincidence, my friend Dan Sugrue, who ran against Carol Sente in the 59th legislative district, is also moved to the neighboring district where Republican incumbent Ed Sullivan, Jr., is the state rep.

Map or no map, folks, make no mistake: the Lake County GOP is fired up and ready to go. We're hopping mad about our plummeting 401Ks and the state income tax increase, and we're not going to take it any more!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Senator Mark Kirk, Congressman Bob Dold Lead Lake County GOP in Lake Forest Days Parade; Dems Trail Behind (Literally)

Fresh from the post debt-crisis dénouement, Senator Mark Kirk and Congressman Bob Dold flew back home to Chicago in time to lead a strong Lake County GOP contingent in the 150th Year Celebration at the Lake Forest Days parade. In addition to Kirk and Dold, Keith Brin for Circuit Court Clerk marched with his family, County Board Candidate Scott Helton had many supporters, and just-announced State's Attorney candidate Mike Nerheim also marched.

The Dems tried to make a decent showing, but their main contingent trailed behind the GOP (literally), as they were the next parade position, and had substantially fewer marchers overall. Their close placement meant, though, that I had the chance to chat with a few of them, including State's Attorney candidate Chris Kennedy, and also Congressional candidate Ilya Sheyman.

I had a nice talk with Sheyman, who seems in person like a nice kid, but I don't think he's going to get a lot of traction against Dold. Sheyman's first priority, though, is defeating primary opponent Brad Schneider, who came in with a strong fundraising quarter, handily beating Sheyman. Sheyman told me that he does not plan to match Schneider dollar-for-dollar, but is not concerned, as he believes that his grassroots support and organizational skills will more than make up the difference. We also both got a chuckle out of his fascist/socialist/anarchist politics, as I put it previously. At least Sheyman thought it was funny, unlike some of our oversensitive commentors a while back.

Sheyman also thought that the current Dem field, himself and Schneider, was likely to be it as far as Dem candidates were concerned. He may be in for a bit of a surprise in that regard; I simply don't see the Dem powers that be let Dold walk away with such weak competition in a district that they moved heaven and earth to set up for a Dem victory.

In any case, here are the pix:

Below is Scott Helton, Candidate for County Board:

Decorating the truck:

Team Dold makes a strong showing:

Kelley Folino helps decorate the truck:

A lot of prep work goes into getting the truck ready. Props to Moraine Township GOP Chairman Lou Atsaves (left), who organized the GOP parade entry:

Here's one of my favorites, the Caputo Cheese Float:

Here is the Sunset Foods old-fashioned fruit truck:

Keith Brin for Circuit Court Clerk gets ready to march:

Another Sunset Foods car:

A new business, Spash Zone!, will be opening soon in Vernon Hills. The bathtubs are actually driveable!

Congressman Bob Dold works the crowd:

Iyla Sheyman, Dem Congressional Candidate. He's 25, but looks at least 26 or 27.

Sheyman's team looked a little lonely:

A typical Sheyman supporter:

Sheyman's primary opponent, Brad Schneider, showed up with a few people too:

Republican attorney Mike Nerheim, fresh off his official announcement for State's Attorney, came with supporters:

Nerheim poses with Chris Kennedy, who is running for State's Attorney on the Dem side:

Senator Kirk and Bob Dold take time to say hi to Keith Brin:

Everyone loves a little dog, including Senator Kirk, who is giving Laura Lambrect's six-year-old pooch a scratch:

I usually shun the limelight, but Senator Kirk and Congressman Dold insisted that TA pose for a picture:

Kids for Kirk. 'Nuf 'Sed.