Every summer, the Kane County Western Township Republicans put on their annual soiree on the spacious grounds of county board member Drew Frasz’ Brundige Road estate. With all due deference to Chris Lauzen and his Porky Picnic, it’s probably my favorite fundraising event.
The great thing about it is, WTR secretary Denny Ryan and I always hang out and debate the merits – or lack thereof – of the various speakers, and, despite my propensity to harbor some socially progressive thoughts, Denny and I always end up laughing because we have so much more in common. We’re both raging fiscal conservatives who want nothing but the best for Kane County.
But as I looked around at this year’s gathering and noticed who wasn’t there, it struck me. There are two Kane County Republican parties.
One faction is ruled by iron-fisted board chairman Karen McConnaughay with her lackey and political mastermind, St. Charles Township GOP Chairman, always close behind. Then there’s former KC GOP chairman Mike Kenyon, KC Republican Women’s Organization heads Connie von Keudell and Susan Secondi, Geneva Township Highway Commissioner Mark Wissing, failed auditor candidate Laura Wallett, and Ellen Nottke. Even Jim Oberweis and Randy Hultgren have been known to fall in with this sad group.
Until former Beacon-News reporter Dan Campana started digging, they pretty much held sway over and treated Kane County – and our money – like their own personal playground. But despite being shut out of most of it, the folks on the other side always made an effort to keep up public appearances for the good of the party.
But now that the political shoe is on the other foot and this group is fading, only Randy Hultgren managed to make it to the WTR event. Their too-obvious theory is, if they can’t be on top, then they’ll take their ball and go home. This way, they can continue to operate under the delusion that they’re still the ones in control.
I’m especially disappointed in Kenyon and Wissing. I had high hopes that they could rise above their own egos and do what’s best for the party. Ah well! It would appear that some folks never do graduate from high school!