From Bernie Schoenburg at the State Journal Register in Springfield
JON ZAHM, a member of the Henry County Board who was Illinois coordinator for the RICK SANTORUM presidential campaign this year, created a website, illinois13.com, where he reported on developments in the new 13th after U.S. Rep. TIM JOHNSON, R-Urbana, dropped out of the November race.
Zahm also reported that three ballots were cast last weekend. In the final one, he wrote, “the difference was just one county’s weighted vote,” which he said came from Macon County GOP Chairman BRUCE PILLSBURY, who went for Davis.
Pillsbury told me he had signed a confidentiality statement and didn’t want to talk about how the voting went.
“The whole process was open and transparent, and in the end all of the 14 chairmen were in total support of the candidate that was chosen,” Pillsbury said. “I think Rodney Davis is an excellent choice and will do a great job representing the 13th Congressional District.”
What a joke. Pillsbury votes in secret for a nomination that the regular Republican voters do not have a vote in and then calls it “transparent.” Macon County voters in his precinct and county need to run him out on a rail in the 2014 primary.
Read the rest of the story here:
Hopefully we will learn how every single Chairman voted in the appointment process. I know I would have issued a press release for all to see the what and why of my decision if I was in the same situation.
Here is the article from the News-Gazette where we get an inside look at the process.
First of all I have to say that the defeat of Jerry Clarke, the ultimate political insider trying to game a seat in Congress, is very good news for conservatives and reformers. He had many big endorsements, printed materials, published web and social media sites, and had already hired campaign staff. He thought this seat was his.
The story of today’s gathering in Springfield is cloaked in secrecy. The official cover story is a unanimous vote. But my sources report a much different reality. It took 3 ballots. On the final ballot the difference was just one county’s weighted vote, the Chairman of Macon County, Bruce Pillsbury. He had the swing vote in his hands between Erika Harold and Rodney Davis. And he went for the more politically connected choice.
Macon County had been in conservative and Tea Party hands until the April convention. I will print a statement from any of the 14 Chairmen as to who they voted for and why. I think they owe the voters of the 13th District and the voters of Illinois that courtesy and transparency.
I will support Davis for this nomination. I’m glad he beat Clarke. But Erika Harold would have been a rock star. She is a young, black conservative woman with great communication skills and stellar education and work credentials mixed with community and political volunteer experience. The future is bright for her.
The ball is in Rodney Davis’ court. Is he going to surround himself with highly paid Clarke sycophants? Or will he incorporate quality people like Erika Harold and Kathy Wassink into his team? Personnel is policy. Time will tell.
This is a very difficult choice. As I have previously written, I have narrowed the choice down to Erika Harold and Kathy Wassink. They are both better selections than Rodney Davis and infinitely better selection than Jerry Clarke. Read the previous posts on this blog for more details.
Kathy is the kind of grassroots candidate who I normally support. If I could wave a wand and place the best qualified remaining candidate into office it would be Kathy Wassink. But this is not how this process works. It is a vote of 14 County Chairmen only. From the intelligence that I have gathered there is very little, if any, support for Kathy in this group. The only way to win this race is to consolidate around Erika Harold.
She is a dynamic candidate who will extend the party while not compromising on conservative beliefs. The Aaron Schock organization is open to her candidacy, which is a valuable melding of a strong political organization with an already established conservative network.
The Chairmen have been very, very coy about their views on this race and I would have liked to see more public deliberations by them. There have been several very good forums held and appointing Mike Bigger to help moderate the process was a good move.
I was disappointed to read that Wassink attacked Harold last night at the Bloomington forum. If the result of the infighting elects Rodney Davis, I will be displeased with the result but can support Rodney. If the result is the appointment of Clarke, say good-bye to the seat and witness the beginning of the end of the Republican Party, as currently constituted, in the region. I do think that Harold or Wassink would take the seat back in 2014 and make Gill a one-termer.
Bernie always does a professional job.
I had a Republican Caucus meeting in Henry County tonight so I could not attend.
I agree with Kathy Wassink’s quote that the two women finalists (her and Harold) are the strongest candidates to win this new district.
When I started this blog I expressed concerns of conflicts of interest with State Party Chairman Pat Brady serving as Chair of the committee. To his credit, Brady stood down and asked 18th CD State Central Committeeman Mike Bigger to serve as non-voting chair. He is a good choice. Bigger owns an insurance brokerage and is the elected Chairman of the Stark County Board, one county south of my home. His county is very small and does not have a lot of money. So Bigger and his colleagues on the Board now serve without pay. I respect that. I asked Bigger for an update on the process and he offered the following:
“I applaud the 14 county chairmen and all the candidates. All 14 chairmen have been involved and fully engaged in this process. They are all taking this appointment very seriously and giving it the thoughtful consideration the decision demands and deserves. Likewise, the candidates are passionate, engaged, and prepared. The voters of the 13th District can be proud of these chairmen and candidates. It is clear this is a group of people who love their party and country, and are committed to making them each better and stronger. I am convinced when the winner is announced Saturday it will be the best choice and we will all go forward excited, united, and determined to win in November. It has been an honor and a privilege for me to be involved in this process.”
I am confident that Bigger is an honest broker in this process.
I could not get here as planned as my family day ran long and I did not want to take away from a great time with the twins in our wiffle ball tournament in Sycamore today. I had two others who were going to go and report on the event but were similarly waylaid by family and work obligations. If anyone wants to send me a report on your observations please do so at email@example.com Each campaign should issue a press release on how they did and why they are the best candidate.
Here is a link to the story by the Champaign News-Gazette’s Tom Kacich. He always does a fair and balanced job.
We are in the final week now. The committee is meeting next Saturday the 19th to make their selection.
Chairman Parrott and the McLean GOP are having an open forum this Thursday evening.