By Illinois Review
In a January 6, 2023 opinion piece published in the Chicago Tribune, Stephen Boulton, chair of the Chicago Republican Party wrote,
“The Chicago Republican Party did not have the extensive financial resources required to fund a Republican candidate for mayor…”
But in an email sent by Boulton to Chicago GOP Committeemen on January 5, 2023, the day before his piece was published in the Chicago Tribune titled, “Meeting and Endorsements,” Boulton discusses mayoral race endorsements, writing,
“The Mayor’s race is a major issue, and it’s time for discussion of an endorsement by Chicago GOP…We will have a group discussion on the race, to see if an Endorsement Meeting is justified, meaning whether there is a reasonable prospect of an endorsement to make such an expenditure worthwhile, or if the Committee is just too split on candidates.”
Few may realize that the Mayoral and Aldermanic races in Chicago are “nonpartisan” – a practice that began in 1983 after the mayoral election of Harold Washington, who defeated Mayor Jane Byrne and Richard M. Daley.
As WTTW News wrote, “voting was largely along racial lines and some politicians then [in 1983] advocated for nonpartisan elections, believing that would reduce the possibility of the white vote being split again in the future.”
When Republicans briefly controlled the Illinois House of Representatives for two years in 1995, a law was finally passed, making the Chicago mayoral elections nonpartisan.
And they’ve been nonpartisan ever since.
But to say that it’s okay to make endorsements in Chicago’s mayoral race because the election is “nonpartisan” is laughable.
Not a single candidate running for Mayor is a Republican, yet the Chicago Republican Party is talking about endorsements.
Does anyone really believe that Mayor Lightfoot is nonpartisan?
Does anyone really believe that US Rep. Chuy Garcia, a member of the Democratic Caucus in the US House of Representatives, is nonpartisan?
Does anyone really believe that Kam Buckner, a member of the Democratic Party and Democratic state representative is nonpartisan?
Does anyone really believe that Jamal Green, a surrogate and supporter of Democratic US Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2020, and Black Lives Matter activist, is nonpartisan?
Does anyone really believe that Brandon Johnson, a member of the Democratic Party and Cook County Board Commissioner, Dist. 1 is nonpartisan?
Does anyone really believe that Sophia King, who was appointed by Democratic Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to replace longtime Democrat William Burns on Chicago’s City Council, and who was endorsed by President Barack Obama in 2017, is nonpartisan?
Does anyone really believe that Roderick Sawyer, a member of the Democratic Party in Chicago’s 6th Ward is nonpartisan?
Does anyone really believe that Paul Vallas, who in 2014, was picked by Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn to be his running mate during his gubernatorial re-election campaign, and who just recently tweeted that Chicago would be a “reproductive safe haven” under his mayoral administration, is nonpartisan?
And in September, Vallas hired Democratic political strategist Joe Trippi and Democratic pollster Mark Mellman.
Trippi served as campaign manager for former Democratic National Committee chair, and former Vermont governor Howard Dean, when he ran for president in 2004. Mellman has worked with many high profile Democrats including former US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D, and former US Sen. Barbara Boxer, who was a Democratic Senator representing California from 1993-2017.
And finally, does anyone really believe that businessman Willie Wilson, who lists his party affiliation as “Democrat” on the Illinois State Board of Elections website, is nonpartisan?
And while both Vallas and Wilson are for restoring law and order, and they support our police, they are not representatives of the Republican Party of Illinois, and they are not registered Republicans.
For Boulton to admit in one of the largest newspapers in the country that the Republican organization that he oversees as chairman couldn’t find a single mayoral candidate in an election as crucial as this one, is embarrassing.
Your job is to help recruit and support local Republican candidates, and you can’t even find a single person, in a city of over 2.6 million residents, to run for mayor.
As the saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them” – and that appears to be what the Chicago GOP is doing by trying to identify which Democratic candidate to support for Chicago mayor.
Talk of an endorsement also appears to be in direct violation of the Illinois Republican Party Platform. No where in the 11-page document does it say that in the event that a Republican organization fails to identify a Republican candidate, then you shall endorse a Democratic candidate.
And while a “nonpartisan” election allows the Chicago GOP to explore endorsements during this mayoral election cycle, they are not fooling anyone.
Perhaps next time, with the help of Chicago Democrats – they’ll have better luck finding a candidate.
Now you’re putting words in their mouth. The committeemen don’t HAVE to endorse anyone – it’s a high bar at 70%, however, with the Socialists and Marxists at the door; a hard-Left Lightfoot trying to retain power; with the city on the literal edge of collapse – both socially and financially – the roughly 200,000 Republican votes in the city could make a big difference. In fact, many Republican-minded Chicagoans have been on either the Wilson or Vallas bandwagons for months. Obviously, the city GOP doesn’t yet have the infrastructure to mount a serious city-wide campaign at this time, it makes sense that they spend their time and resources on IL House, IL Senate, Cook County Commissioner and Aldermanic races (divide and conquer), rather than a costly Hail Mary with a Don Quixote candidate that will waste a lot of resources. Illinois Review’s purity stance isn’t very practical or pragmatic in Chicago and you obviously haven’t paid close attention to what the party in the city is trying to construct. I’m hopeful they’ll be making you eat your words in the near future.