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IL GOP suburban org holds early 2020 primary straw poll; picks break IL GOP mold



Bremen Township GOP chairman Kevin Suggs with GOP U.S. Senate candidate Peggy Hubbard

More to come ahead on Illinois Review, including audios of the candidate forum.

TINLEY PARK – In a straw poll after one of the IL GOP's first 2020 primary season candidate forums, an audience in Chicago's southern suburbs chose as their favorites two African-American women, a businessman running for office the first time, and two experienced politicians.

For those observing, the results were quite a change from the Illinois' Republican Party they once knew. 

"I think we got a great insight into the candidates tonight, to get a flavor of who they are and what they stand for," said Bremen Township GOP Chairman Kevin Suggs. "So now I think we just need to have more exposure and people will be able to make the right choice March 17th." 

All but one of the GOP candidates in the straw poll are vying for the chance to take on longtime-entrenched Democrat incumbents in the November 2020 general election. 

Thursday night, Republicans in Cook County's southern suburbs and Will County's eastern section heard from 15 different candidates in nine different local, state and federal races. The straw poll focused on five contested GOP primary races: for the U.S. Senate, the Cook County State's Attorney, 37th State House, and the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts.

Of the 15 participating in the forum, seven were white males, three were black males, three were black females, and two were white females – evidence of a political party that's changing.  

First time GOP candidate Peggy Hubbard, a veteran and former law enforcement officer from Belleville, was the audience's favorite among four U.S. Senate picks on the evening's panel – including former Lake County sheriff Mark Curran, Dr. Robert Marshall and Dr. Thomas Tarter. A fifth GOP US Senate candidate, Casey Chlebek, did not participate in the forum.

(For an audio of the evening's U.S. Senate discussion on immigration, see HERE.

Chicagoan Lynn Franco narrowly won over Jimmy Lee Tillman and Philanise White on the 1st CD primary ballot.

Southwest suburban businessman Tim Ozinga won handily over GOP primary opponent New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann in the 37th House race to succeed retiring State Rep. Margo McDermed. 

Baldermann was expected at the event, but didn't show at the last moment. That disappointed Will County GOP Chairman George Pearson. 

"I'm truly disappointed that Baldermann didn't show up. I believe throwing off the public and being afraid to come out after a bad story hit – instead of facing it head on. Why not come out and have a conversation about it?" Pearson told Illinois Review.

The story Pearson was referring to was in the Will County Gazette that hit Thursday, re-emphasizing Baldermann's numerous public pensions and salaries as well as what the story claims is Baldermann having three properties in Will County upon which he claims home owners' exemptions for property taxes. State law allows only one per resident.

In the Cook County State's Attorney race, the attendees chose Chris Pfankuche over Patrick O'Brien – both experienced prosecutors.

In the 3rd CD race, the audience chose Will County Board member Mike Fricilone heavily over Catherine O'Shea, who participated in the forum.

Others that participated in the forum, but are running unopposed in the 2020 GOP primary were 38th House District candidate Max Solomon, 40th Senate District candidate Eric Wallace, Cook County 15th Judicial Subcircuit candidate LaVeta Williams and 2nd CD candidate Theresa Raborn. 

More to come on this forum ahead on Illinois Review, including audios of the candidate forum. 







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  1. All of this is just wonderful news for the future of the Illinois Republican Party. President Trump is leading the Republican effort to reach out to minorities across the nation. Certain Republicans will have to come to grips with knowing what is quite obvious. Numerous liberated #walkaway Democrats voted for Obama and others. Their dreams, hopes, and changes that they wanted, in order to improve their lives…were trampled on by the Obama lies and his liberal, progressive, socialist supporters.

  2. Patsy, You raise a good point. Remember though, this wasn’t an official endorsement by the GOP it’s the people’s choice. Most of these candidates far exceeded by petition limit. For example in the Cook County States attorney race the winner of the straw poll submitted more than double the number of petitions. In the Senate race, on average the candidates submitted 8000 signatures, 3,000 more than the minimum. I think the benefit of having this forum early, far outweighed the risk. I drove more than one hour to attend, in part because I supported Peggy Hubbard. I was thrilled to see so many quality candidates and so much diversity. The excitement in our party is contagious. Kudos to Bremen Township for putting on this event. It was well done.

  3. First of all, I support Peggy Hubbard and stand with her on the immigration policy. I know sometimes we get called callous, but my conservative principles guide me into believing that we can’t just lead from the heart.
    I know Curran got angry yesterday, but I believe his stand on immigration is not a political calculation. I can’t say the same thing about Dr. Tarter, but I believe that both Hubbard and Curran are both firmly believe what they are saying. They are just on opposite ends. Ms. Hubbard has seen the devastation that illegal immigration has had on many communities in Illinois and across the nation especially to the black community. This is not new and in fact, was a stance of the Democratic policy back when the late Barbara Jordan of Texas was a Congressman. It was the stance of Bill Clinton as well in 1996. Ms. Hubbard did not change, but the Democratic party left her before she ran away from them. Sheriff Curran has been very honest about his conversion from supporting strict immigration policies to one who supports comprehensive reform and compassion to those illegal immigrants who are already here. Sheriff Curran explained it all in an article that describes his “St. Paul” like conversion. Sheriff Curran was confronted by the Catholic Bishops and through discussions with them, he came to realize where he was wrong on immigration. Look, you can agree or disagree with Sheriff Curran, but he approaches the problem of immigration with compassion. But, compassion in an imperfect world will not solve problems unless it is guided by common sense conservatism. This is where I wholeheartedly disagree with Sheriff Curran, and why I think it would be wrong to put amnesty at the top of our ticket.
    For those of you who don’t understand why there is so much anger towards Sheriff Curran from people like former candidate William J. Kelly and Peggy Hubbard supporters, it is that he supports amnesty for illegal immigrants that are already here. I agree we need to have humane policies, but amnesty should be the exception, not the norm. I agree with Dr. Tarter that those Dreamers who served in the military should be given an expedited chance of becoming a citizen, not a free card, but treat each of them as an exception. But, do not make amnesty the norm. We must consider the practical consequences of doing this. We all know it will only increase the odds of more illegal immigration crossings and will impact our own American citizens including veterans and those struggling to find a living wage.
    Sorry, for not leaving a bunch of references. Feel free to google. Feel free to reply if you want me to post any. Here is the one about Sheriff Curran’s conversion.

  4. When I speak to Peggy Hubbard and when I listen to her speak, I honestly do not think of her as being an African-AMERICAN candidate. I listen to the content of her speech and her life acquired experience in life. Peggy Hubbard has given speeches to groups consisting of 100% white people and I have seen her receive standing ovations many times, including extreme conservative Christian groups. As I have said many times, Peggy Hubbard may be a little rough around the edges, but she is getting better every time I hear her speak. It really matters to me what is in a persons heart. Peggy Hubbard will be my choice in the primary, and unlike a handful of rude and crude women from up north who like to attack Peggy Hubbard, I will support the eventual nominee.

  5. A huge thank you to Illinois Review for their excellent reporting. We can’t all be at every event, but somehow Illinois Review manages to cover many important events such as this one. And they give us the facts concisely and clearly. Thank you to Dennis LaComb, Fran Eaton and the additional contributors to Illinois Review. It’s encouraging to hear about this great group of candidates.

  6. I am glad they are doing forums already – we’d lie many more, especially for Senator from Illinois. It is possible that some will drop out (two or three on the ballot would be good). And we do need to have time to get to know them, what they claim and what they have done.

  7. “Correcting”
    Hopefully someday you’ll feel comfortable enough to identify yourself to our Illinois Review readers and fellow commenters.
    In the meantime, we are working on making the audio file available online and should be ready to go on Monday.
    Thanks so much for your interest in Illinois Review!
    Fran Eaton, editor and co-founder

  8. IT IS OFFICIAL!!!! Peggy Hubbard becomes the first REPUBLICAN black woman to run for the U.S. Senate in Illinois history!
    This race will not be easy…she is relying on a growing grassroots movement across the state to support her. She has a great mountain to climb in order to win the primary and then defeat longtime Democrat Dick Durbin.