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Monday, January 30, 2023
HomeIllinois NewsPalatine Township GOP upheaval continues: Rep. Morrison responds to Aaron Del Mar

Palatine Township GOP upheaval continues: Rep. Morrison responds to Aaron Del Mar



O-TOM-MORRISON-ILLINOIS-GAY-MARRIAGE-POLYGAMY-facebookPALATINE TOWNSHIP – Repercussions continue over the Palatine Township Republican Organization's endorsement session Tuesday night as angry Republicans publicly air their frustrations over how the meeting and voting was handled. Members are demanding more transparency about the process, as the endorsement session determines the sample ballots Republicans will receive before the March 20th primary.

Illinois Review published Chairman Aaron Del Mar's response per his stipulations. Today, Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) – who Del Mar mentioned in his response – requested the opportunity to respond to Del Mar in the same manner.

Morrison points out the majority of proxy ballots he viewed Wednesday from non-Palatine residents were delivered to the meeting by Schaumburg Township Republican Chairman Ryan Higgins and political consultant Joe Calomino.

Morrison's response:

I was in attendance at last night's PTRO endorsement session to help support Jeanne Ives. The room was packed, and tensions were high, which led to some heated exchanges. In my opinion this could have been largely avoided by improved transparency, mechanics and execution of the endorsement process. Everything I am expressing here, I have related to Aaron Del Mar on the phone and/or in person.

At the start of the meeting Aaron gave a cursory summary of the endorsement rules (primarily on the allocation of weighted votes and the tabulation of those votes behind closed doors, which has not been done before). When challenged by PTRO members in the audience about why the votes would be counted in secret, he brashly dismissed them and said that it was his organization and his decision. As a side note, today he apologized to me in person for essentially losing his cool in that moment. But I believe he also owes an apology to those he shouted down.

After it was announced online that Bruce Rauner had won the endorsement with 73% of the vote, both I and several other PTRO members had serious questions about that outcome, especially since there was such strong in-person support that night for Rep. Ives. For example, what was the vote break out to get that result (what were the exact number PTRO board member votes, precinct captain votes, member votes, member proxy votes)? 

I contacted Aaron Del Mar this morning by phone and asked for that data. He provided me the numbers of proxy votes over the phone but could not directly answer how many of those proxy votes were from Palatine township residents. He offered to meet me over at the PTRO office to see the ballots and count for myself.

While he did indicate that he had a time limitation today due to family obligations, and I did too, all I wanted was a quick enough glance at the ballots to determine roughly how many proxy ballots there were for Rauner or Ives and on whose behalf were those ballots cast.  Based upon an approximately 30 minute review, and without a complete re-counting of each ballot, I’ve come to the following conclusion, which I think is a fairly accurate and reasonable explanation of the 73% result for Rauner: 

The greatest influence on the vote was from 200+ proxy ballots delivered by PTRO member Ryan Higgins (who lives in Schaumburg, serves as the Schaumburg Township Republican committeeman, and is the 8th Congressional district State Central Committeeman), and PTRO member Joe Calomino (who lives in Lake in the Hills, is campaign manager for judicial candidate Susanne Groebner, and was there to help secure PTRO’s endorsement for Susanne). 

The overwhelming majority of those proxy ballots were cast for Bruce Rauner, and a handful were checked for Jeanne Ives. Each proxy ballot had an individual name, and many ballots had addresses listed under that name. The overwhelming majority of proxy ballots with addresses listed were non-Palatine Township addresses including Chicago, Niles, Schaumburg, and even Woodstock. There were some proxy ballots that checked “no endorsement” or “abstain” for some of the races, including Governor, which explains discrepancies between the total number of ballots, ballots cast for Ives or Rauner, and ballots cast for the Attorney General and judicial races.

Aaron told me that each person who voted, either in person or by proxy paid a $25 PTRO membership fee by cash, check, or online via PayPal. So, upon the next report from the IL board of elections, expect to see a sizable boost to PTRO’s campaign coffers. 

Here’s the bottom line:

When Palatine Township Republicans receive their PTRO sample ballots later this month, they need to understand that last night's endorsement process involved voting that was open to anyone from anywhere who was willing to chip in $25 to the organization. The majority of these brand new members voted by proxy ballots submitted last night by non-Palatine Township residents Ryan Higgins or Joe Calomino.

I do not know how all of the other local GOP organizations conduct their endorsement sessions, but the “paid straw poll” method has been used in other jurisdictions besides Palatine this election cycle to determine official GOP organization endorsements. This is misleading at best and can easily lead to committed outsiders having an out-sized influence on the process. In my opinion, that’s what happened at PTRO last night. So for Palatine voters and throughout Illinois, I would highly recommend that voters do their homework on candidates beyond their local GOP's “sample ballot."

And I recommend they vote Jeanne Ives for Governor.


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  1. This “endorsement process” reeks like a sow house in late July!
    How can you say it is an endorsement from an area organization when most of the votes cast were from outside the area???
    This was a highest bidder sham and it is a shame that it will be used to mislead the voters in that area.
    When we had the big IL GOP straw poll election back in 2012, we verified that each vote being cast was cast by a resident and registered voter from within our county. I can’t even imagine trying to say a poll is legit if you don’t even verify that the votes were cast from within the district by registered party affiliated voters.
    The way this sham of an endorsement process was conducted (not validating that these were in district Republican voters) leaves the door wide open for even democrats to throw the endorsement.
    The principles of this party, just like this endorsement, are being sold out to the highest bidder. Such a shame.

  2. Jeannie Ives is surging.
    The endorsement process is messed up.
    Some details today, I saw two different Ives commercials today on television. I also understand Ives has 10,000 to 15,000 yard signs in 102 Illinois counties. I have seen zero Rauner yard signs.
    Many are calling for at least one TV debate between Ives and Rauner.
    I supported Bruce four years ago and now I’m voting for Jeannie Ives on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Check out my article today on the Ives appearance at the city club this week. There is a link to the full video of the event.

  3. It should have been handled like a township political caucus: attendance and residency is checked for each person as he or she enters the hall, by verification from a list of GOP voters who were active in prior GOP Primary elections who reside within that political jurisdiction.
    Anyone else present does NOT receive a ballot.

  4. Thanks, Mark, for all you are doing to make Jeanne Ives’ name known throughout IL. There is no way Rauner can be trusted after he was a miserable failure in his first term.
    It is disgusting what happened in Palatine Township where an establishment Republican is working against the good of the Republican Party by endorsing Rauner as a way to keep the status quo, which would benefit establishment Republicans, but not Illinois or its citizens.
    How much lower can Illinois sink? It seems clear that establishment Republicans don’t care. Their only concern is what is in it for them! Sadly Lake County where I live has its own share of establishment Republican.

  5. To big time politician Weyermuller:
    On Wednesday I posted this to a
    comment you made: “Weyermuller:
    “One poll I took shows
    10,000 Jeannie Ives yard signs
    while Rauner has zero yard signs.”
    How many polls did you take??
    I did professional polling
    for years andI never observed such
    a bizarre result. Publish your
    research design and data.
    Did you “weight” one sign to be
    equivalent to 10,000?

    apparently did nothing but fantasize
    about your self-acclaimed political “skill.”

    Now you claim
    that it is your UNDERSTANDING
    that Ives has 10-15,000
    signs! THIS is what Y O U said you researched????
    I have no vested interest in
    either candidate, but I am always
    concerned about truth and reality.

  6. Sorry to burst the bubble of all the Ives conspiracy theorists here, but the absentee vote battle had zero to do with the gubernatorial race. Calomino is campaign manager for Susanne Groebner, a Democrat masquerading as a Republican judge candidate. Higgins is the hometown committeeman for Gary Seyring, the real Republican judge candidate in that race. All of the absentee votes submitted by Calomino were for Groebner, and all of the absentee votes submitted by Higgins were for Seyring. The total vote was 52% to 48% in the judge race, resulting in no endorsement. The absentee votes must have strongly favored Rauner, but they could not have been all for him.

  7. Much ado,
    The absentee vote battle was about the judicial race, but it also included the gubernatorial race. If you read my piece, I do state that some of the absentee ballots were for Ives, but the vast majority of them were cast for Rauner. Ryan Higgins and Aaron Del Mar have openly stated their allegiance to Rauner for the primary election, and it appears that they worked together to achieve an endorsement for him.
    Again, why should non-Palatine residents be allowed to influence a Palatine endorsement, whether it’s for governor, judge, or dogcatcher? If it’s going to be a “paid straw poll” endorsement, then say so up front so that candidates and voters can decide if they want to participate. If outsiders are going to be allowed membership at the last minute and to vote by proxy, then disclose that upfront. If there’s going to be an official endorsement, then have a disclaimer about the process. That did not happen, which is why some Palatine Republicans are ticked off.
    I think a proper response for the Palatine Township Republican Organization would be to admit what happened and skip the sample ballot that was planned with the endorsed candidates’ names in bold. Instead, send a sample ballot with all the candidates in regular typeface and include the dates and locations of early voting sites, new voter registration info, polling sites, etc.

  8. The most important part of the meeting was that Del Mar collected money ($25.00 a head) from all of those who stayed and wanted to vote. Aaron is an unprincipled opportunist and it is always about the money with someone like that. He had already endorsed Rauner and had cast Palatine Township’s weighted vote for Rauner one day earlier at the Cook County Central Committee meeting. The Palatine event on Tuesday was nothing more than a sham. Even without a stuffed ballot box, there was simply no way Ives was going to get a fair shake from Del Mar. If the entire room voted for Ives, it would have made zero difference since Palatine’s vote had already been given to Rauner at the County meeting.

  9. The explanation over judges makes sense if it is a hotly contested race, but why is there no questions about the role the State Central Committeeman Ryan Higgins played in this. I mean he is much more than just a campaign manager. How do proxy votes work? Were these ballots just mailed out to a large swath of people who then submitted them individually? Or were they physically collected by Ryan Higgins and then submitted to Palatine. Who is really to blame? Palatine? What other townships do these two judges participate in? Was it just Palatine? Or did they do the same elsewhere?

  10. I would love to know who,
    “North Cook Tea Party”, you are.
    I am the Founder of the Arlington Heights TEA Party and I thought I knew every TEA Party Leader in the State of Illinois, North of I-80, and most of the rest as well.
    I don’t know who you are, but perhaps you are Mr. Rauner’s campaign manager???

  11. As people know more about Jeanne Ives. Than realize Rauner, Cullerton and Madigan work together against the people of Illinois. Rauner, Cullerton and Madigan National Socialist vote to Kill Unborn Babies.
    Love Saves Lives
    Carl Lambrecht