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HomeIllinois News"Rigged" 2016 elections morph into "rigged" endorsements, IL GOP faithful complain

“Rigged” 2016 elections morph into “rigged” endorsements, IL GOP faithful complain




PALATINE – During the 2016 presidential primaries, the cry among Democrats was Hillary Clinton "rigged" the procedures to win the party's nomination over Bernie Sanders. As more and more comes out about how high-ranking FBI insiders allegedly worked with the Department of Justice, the State Department and possibly even President Obama to spy on Trump campaign insiders, the phrase "attempted rigging" comes to mind.

Now, active Republicans are claiming there's an ongoing attempt to "rig" the Illinois Republican Party's endorsement process in favor of Governor Rauner – at the very least, Tuesday night at the  Palatine Township Republican Organization's (PTRO) endorsement session, members are saying.

UPDATES on Illinois Review from PTRO Chairman Aaron Del Mar HERE and State Rep. Tom Morrison HERE.

The PTRO Chairman is Aaron Del Mar, former Cook County Republican Party chairman. Del Mar Is Palatine Township's Highway Commissioner and was appointed last month by Governor Rauner to serve on the Illinois International Port District Board of Directors (although he is yet to be listed on the District's website).

Del Mar and Cook County GOP Chairman Sean Morrison both endorsed Rauner in 2014, and claimed their endorsements won the primary for Rauner.

Accusations of inappropriate vote maneuvering hit Facebook Tuesday night when those attending began reporting what went on at the meeting. 

"Rules were requested for this meeting. Committeeman Del Mar responded that he was not obligated to provide them and he can run the organization any way he feels," committeeman Vicki Gwozdz Wilson wrote on the group's FB page. "He told people tonight that if they didn’t like it they could leave. He is an absolute dictator and Republicans who believe in transparency and ethical behavior need to demand the 'data' behind tonight."

The organization posted:

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 9.21.38 AM
"Del Mar ran a sham endorsement session on numerous levels," Wilson – an Ives supporter – wrote. "This endorsement is completely meaningless. As the straw poll at the Christmas party and the standup vote tonight showed, the majority of Palatine Township Republicans endorse Jeanne Ives."

Julie Tragas, another person that attending the endorsement session said, " … [W]hen I insisted on putting my ballot in the ballot box at the start of the evening, there was already a stack of ballots in there. This has been rigged.

"Unlike normal elections where the voters insert their ballots in the ballot box themselves, he was placing them in the box probably to keep others from seeing what I did. Disgraceful," Tragas wrote before the organization publicized its final results. "If this was a legitimate endorsement session there would have been transparency but there was none. My prediction is that Rauner will get the endorsement because Del Mar owes him- he's been bought and paid for in my opinion."

Jennifer Zold, another meeting attendee, wrote there were dozens of outbursts of protest and probing questions – "much in disbelief!"

"The weighting system of votes was among the most egregious of the covert manipulative tactics," Zold wrote. "When Del Mar was asked, 'Well who decides that?!' He proudly told the room of nearly 80, 'ME.'"

As the news of the evening's proceedings spread, Mark Cramer, Precinct Captain in the Schaumburg Township Republican Organization and a retired Navy Commander, expressed dismay with the situation. 

"Del Mar destroyed all credibility of the GOP endorsement process in Cook County and calls into clear question the unethical practices of the Rauner campaign," Cramer told Illinois Review Wednesday morning.

Illinois Review has asked Chairman Del Mar for a comment concerning the accusations being publicly made by members of his organization. We will report as soon as we hear back. 

UPDATE: Chairman Del Mar did respond and his response has been published in its entirety HERE. 


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  1. This man seems completely dishonest. He trash talked the about the legitimacy of the Chicago Municipal Committee meeting which held a straw poll that Ives won handily last month (describing it as a private “club” as opposed to a statutorily recognized political organization provided for in the Election Code).
    It may be some time before his name appears on the web site of the Illinois International Port District, if ever, because both the governor and the mayor have to agree to the appointment and Rahm Emanuel has withheld his approval.
    I think Rauner likes him because is a practitioner of pay to play politics.

  2. The Jeannie Ives campaign continues to surge as the Rauner machine is breaking down with desperate attempts to win voters.
    One poll I took shows 10,000 Jeannie Ives yard signs while Rauner has zero yard signs . There is no grass roots support for Rauner and that’s who votes in Reoublican primaries.. The Rauner surrogates should change their strategy to focus on his accomplishments, which might be tough. I’ve never seen a campaign keep like this.
    A Friend of mine said, “you can’t make this stuff up!”
    Watch the debate last week st the Tribune. Ives crush him according to the Tribune.,

  3. This is no surprise from Cook County to me. When I ran, in 2006 and 2008, for the 8th Congressional District, the then Township Chairman already had things rigged then, too. He even, as I recall, allowed his “chosen one” to speak and not the others.
    The basic/core problem is that, in Cook County, Pct. Committeemen are not elected – they’re appointed…appointed by the Party Chairman of the Township. Thus…you get a bunch of their “friends” appointed who will follow his lead in an unthinking manner. For they know they would get ousted should they not do his bidding.
    It is interesting that, even with these appointments, there apparently was enough push back on Rauner (as there damned well SHOULD be) to have such Chairman stuff the ballot box to more fully ensure a “correct” vote! It’s too bad that the total ballots cast at the meeting was not announced or demanded (like the standing up for Ives support)…

  4. One eyewitness I trust said one savvy precinct captain asked those who were for Ives to stand right before the vote. “At least 3/4ths” stood for Ives. Just like the 1960 election and so many times before, “Crook” County strikes again. From the Illinois Republican Chairman on down, a lot of Republican “leaders’ will be out of jobs if Ives wins the primary. You can see the desperation and fear in everything they do and say.

  5. I was there last night. It was clear that the overwhelming majority of people supported Jeanie Ives. Even with all the extra ‘bonus votes’ give by Mr. Del Mar to his board members it wasn’t even close. Mr. Del Mar was clearly going to ‘deliver the goods’ for Governor Rauner regardless of the desires of rank and file Republicans. It’s discouraging to realize that even our local Republican officials have become so corrupt.

  6. I’ll bet you will never “hear back” from these crooks.
    They are in the habit of doing as they do with the news media: STALL a day or two, and the media will forget and go on to the latest headliner.
    That’s the way these “games” are played.

  7. This Del Mar character – according to an earlier report in the Illinois Review was a pimp for strippers.
    Has the Illinois GOP degenerated into this?
    That is why many of us now consider ourselves “independent conservatives” and with our 35% of the Republican vote – we can sink any candidates in the primaries or the general election – including Rauner and his paid lackeys – are you paying attention Ms. Harold?

  8. Dishonest (former) “Democrat” Del Mar had to deliver the Palatine Organization’s vote on Tuesday because he had already supported Rauner at the Cook County Republican Central Committee twenty-four hours earlier. Maybe he has psychic powers because he called the township for Rauner on Monday BEFORE Palatine’s GOP organization had even met and voted.
    In baseball, this type of play would result in the side being put out for an inning for batting out of order.

  9. Following the Cook County Republican Central Committee endorsement session (where Del Mar cast Palatine’s weighted vote for Rauner one full day before the controversial township endorsement meeting), Del Mar was interviewed by the Daily Herald about the Central Committee vote. The same article falsely reported that Rauner had clinched the Chicago wards. Ives received 55% of the Chicago wards

  10. To Illinois Review:
    Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the egregious and categorically false claims stated by Ives for Illinois paid staffer Vicki Wilson. The Palatine Township Endorsement session was held last night, and all candidates were given the opportunity to present including Representative Ives. After the all the candidates finished their speeches, all the votes were submitted and tallied and reported. The tabulation was done directly by our board consisting of no less than 9 or our 12 board members. The votes were based on this weighted scale; The twelve board members were given 5 votes each, precinct captains were given 3 votes each and general members were given 1 vote each. This was done for the following reason, it is my belief that our 12-member board deserves move weighted vote due to the fact that they do 98% of all the volunteering work for the organization thru our events, parades, fundraising, monthly meetings and media and are due more input for endorsing than a person who is simply a member and does nothing but show up at the endorsement session. Same reasoning goes behind why precinct captains have a 3 vote, etc. I will also point out that an audit of our board showed that 66% of our board was for Gov. Rauner and 33% was for Rep. Ives, so taking out general membership, would still have garnered Gov. Rauner an endorsement.
    It’s also important to point out that Mrs. Zold, Mrs. Tragas, and Mr. Cramer who are quoted in your article just became members of PTRO the night of the election, presumably to cast votes for Mrs. Ives and did not have any previous PTRO membership or participation, furthermore, Mr. Cramer is actually a resident of Schaumburg Township and came to the Palatine Endorsement session in an attempt to alter the results in favor of Rep. Ives.
    Finally, I think it is critical to report that State Representative Tom Morrison who is with the Jeanne Ives campaign and one of her most stringent supporters, is also PTRO member and contributor and he personally audited the votes and confirmed the tally today.
    We stand by our endorsement session and its results.
    We support Rep. Ives strong commitment to conservative values, and we recognize her strong leadership and outstanding understanding of policy and we truly wish her the best of luck in her pursuits. We do not however support the behavior of her paid staff member calling into question the integrity and hard work of our board and of our endorsement session.
    The collaborative nature of her supporters to try discredit the result of our endorsement session when they didn’t like the result is not represented of Republican values and we hope that this doesn’t happen to other organizations who choose not ot endorse her.
    It is the positon of the Palatine Township Republican Organization to support all Republicans and we want to make it clear while we fully endorse Governor Rauner and firmly believe he is the only candidate who has the means and messaging to win in November, that if Rep Ives wins the March primary will look past the behavior of her staff and we will fervently support her through November and on. We also hope that after March 20th all Republicans, no matter who they supported in the primary will put their differences aside and unite to defeat the Democrats in November.
    Aaron Del Mar
    Palatine Township Republican Committeeman

  11. Last night’s PTRO “endorsement” session was an embarrassment for the Republican party on numerous fronts. All citizens who believe in transparency and ethical governance should join me in demanding the results be voided.
    To summarize all of the issues with last night’s “endorsement” session:
    -Ballots were already in the beer cooler/ballot box before the meeting started due to the selling (for the low price of $25) of absentee ballots.
    – Approximately 80 people attended last night in person. Due to Mr. Del Mar’s new rule that ballots would be counted in secret and his refusal to be transparent/count them out in the open as usual, a standup vote took place against his wishes. The clear majority was for Jeanne Ives. That it had to come to that is still unbelievable to me. But the woman (not me) who took charge and did that is one of my heroes.
    – I have asked the number of total ballots cast. No response.
    – I have asked for the number of absentee ballots cast. No response. However, we know it was in the hundreds. Exact number still unknown.
    – Mr. Del Mar publicized this as being open to anyone who wanted to come and pay $25. You didn’t have to live in Palatine township or be a Republican, or even registered. No vetting took place upon arrival.
    – What he did not publicize is that ballots could be purchased ahead of time. Obviously, some people knew that.
    – The process and rules were requested ahead of time by members. Mr. Del Mar responded that he did not have to provide anything and he can run “his” organization anyway he feels.
    – He also told folks last night who questioned the brand-new secret ballot counting maneuver that they could “take their $25 bucks and leave.” It was truly embarrassing and horribly disrespectful.
    – I have asked for the precinct captain list to be released. People were seen being given PC ballots who have never been seen before at PTRO.
    – I, a longstanding member and active volunteer, was handed the white ballot – 1 vote. Aaron refused to provide me an explanation.
    The IL Republican party should investigate this endorsement session. The only thing that has been released are the percentages. We need real numbers and answers why absentee ballots were allowed to be sold ahead of time to people who don’t live in Palatine township, may not be Republican voters, and may not even be registered. It was a sham. The results should be voided.
    Vicki Wilson
    p.s. Mr. Cramer was not in attendance and did not vote. Mr. Del Mar should retract his statements regarding Mr. Cramer.

  12. I am the Founder and Executive Director of the only active TEA Party (that I know of) in NW Cook County, McHenry County and Lake County. That is the Arlington Heights TEA Party.
    I have no idea who the person is who is posted with the name, “North Cook TEA Party”. However, it wasn’t me.
    I WAS at the Palatine GOP Meeting Tuesday night. I voted for Jeanne Ives as did 75% or more of those who attended.
    If PTRO gives their Board Members 5 votes each, we need to remember, they don’t get 5 votes each on election day, or do they?

  13. I still don’t understand how Stevie thinks it’s the minority imposing it’s will on the majority (or his problem with minority rights, for that matter). If the majority of the state wants the Fat Slob Pritzker nothing the 35% Clint Westwood wrote of can do anything to stop it. The 35% can’t stop Jeanne Ives if the majority of the state wants her. The 35% can’t stop Not In Charge Rauner if the majority of the state wants him.
    It’s not the 35%’s job to get Not In Charge over the hump. If Not In Charge has done a bang-up job then he shouldn’t have any problem convincing the majority of the rest of the state to vote for him. I thought you were all about outreach?

  14. 66% of Republicans want Rauner, 33% Want Ives. In response, you blame us, the party, the media, and everyone else but Ives for gaining majority support. Did you ever think maybe said they would vote for Ives and then actually voted for Rauner?
    It’s hard to have an actual debate when you just get called RINO over and over while spewing the same misinformation Ives and Proft are spreading.
    Good on Aaron for not letting the session become a circus.

  15. Haha. Stevie –
    I’m sure that you’d be patting Aaron on the back if the end results reflected the opinions of the members of the PTRO, rather than reflecting the votes of proxies that live outside of Palatine.
    And haven’t you seen the polling that shows Rauner’s high negatives? No one that doesn’t work for the governor wants him re-elected.