Particularly because we’re all corona virused-out and we could certainly use a diversion, let’s talk about yesterday’s fascinating Kane County-centric primary races.
As predicted, Jim Oberweis is, indeed, the 14th Congressional District Republican nominee, but he certainly didn’t run away with it. Had State Senator Sue Rezin merely run a marginally better campaign (no newspaper mailers), she would’ve easily made up that one percent margin.
Did Jim’s campaign finance shenanigans hurt him? I’m sure they did.
But that money laundering scheme didn’t disappoint me nearly as much as Jim, once again, fervently believing that no one would rat him out in this regard. C’mon Jim! Haven’t you learned not everyone’s your friend by now?
Given his poor showing, Jim will lose to incumbent Lauren Underwood by double digits.
Meanwhile, distant third place finisher Cataline Lauf spent more than a quarter of a million dollars to finish with just 20 percent, or 8,801 votes! The final campaign finance reports aren’t in yet, and considering her late mailer blitz, those expenditures could top $300,000. But if we use that more conservative dollar amount, it comes out to a patently pathetic $28.40 per vote!
Clearly, she could’ve saved a bunch of cash and done much better if she simply offered voters ten bucks a pop!
Lauf, who wouldn’t know the truth if it bit her in the ass, said, “I learned that people are ready for excitement and new faces on the Republican side.” No Catalina! You ran a terrible campaign, you performed so poorly in public that your handlers “socially distanced” you, and I wouldn’t count on that MENSA application coming back anytime soon.
Like it is with any candidate, I give you credit for making the effort to run, but if you choose to run again, and you really shouldn’t, you’ll never do better than 20 percent of the vote.
An erudite friend noted that, without Lauf in the race, Rezin would’ve won! So you can that Catalina for presenting us with Jim Oberweis one more time!
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Jeanne Ives mauled Jay Kinzler in the 6th Congressional with a whopping 70 percent of the vote, but she will lose to Sean Casten in November.
Meanwhile, Marie Newman beat Dan Lipinski by four points in the 4th, Raj Krishnamoorthi obliterated two opponents with an incredible 80 percent of the vote in the 8th, and Bill Foster beat Rachel Ventura by a healthy 17-point margin in the 11th.
Back to the more local races!
Matha Paschke destroyed perennial candidate Mo Iqball by two-to-one in the District 65 state rep race, Barabara Hernandez retained her 88th seat by a slightly larger margin, and Allen Skillicorn made mincemeat out of Carolyn Schofield in the 66th with 70 percent of the vote tally there.
In the State Senate, 22nd District incumbent Cristina Castro mopped the floor with opponent Rae Yawer, and in a bit of surprise, Jeannette Ward blew out perennial candidate Beth Goncher by 19 points in the 25th.
Per our previous conversations, Goncher is a terrible candidate with a poor campaign work ethic. How else could someone with her name recognition and late influx of cash lose to a generally unknown and underfunded radical conservative? I’m sure it won’t be the case, but let’s hope this is the last we’ll see of Goncher and her campaign manager who loses two-thirds of her races.
In the end, Ward will lose to Karina Villa, turning that district over to the Democrats for the first time in its history.
Conversely, because of her willingness to pound the pavement Jamie Mosser mauled Junaid “J.” Afeef by two-to-one, despite being outspent five-to-one.
My best guess is, Afeef commissioned a late poll and went bizarrely negative in the final week in an attempt to catch up. In my 24 years in Kane County, I’ve never seen such blatant mailer lies in a countywide race, which, once again, proves that negative campaigning does not work at the local level.
Mosser will beat Republican opponent Bob Spence in November.
But the biggest surprise of the night – and recent election day history – was Corrine Pierog’s utter destruction of Greg Ellsbree with a wholly unexpected 70 percent of the vote in the Dem county chairman race.
Pierog, to whom I’ve previously applied my favorite political appellation “loon,” never came close to beating Oberweis for State Senate and, as far as I can tell, she didn’t even bother to campaign this time. I saw no mailers, there were scattered signs, and I have no indication she knocked on doors, either. I understand there’s some name recognition involved here, but if someone can explain this one to me, I’m all ears!
I still say Dave Rickert, who was instrumental in the ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election’ book process, will beat her in November. Pierog is not a good candidate, but Ellsbree must be worse!
Now for the more interesting county board races!
Despite my advice to the contrary, outgoing Chairman Chris Lauzen’s insistence on going after District 10 incumbent Susan Starrett did not propel her to a victory. Former Batavia Alderman Dave Brown beat her by 12.5 points, and trust me, it wasn’t the negative campaigning that did Starrett in, it was Brown’ work ethic that did the trick.
Meanwhile, in a battle of the incumbents – both have held the seat – Ron Ford beat Matt Hanson by a scant 18 votes! Yes! Sixty-four absentee ballots are still out there, but statistically, only 32 will come back in the next two weeks. That means Hanson needs 26, or 81 percent of those votes, to turn it around and that’s a statistical impossibility.
Hanson has yet to concede the race.
And now I can tell you I was Ron’s paid campaign manager and he was a joy to work with. I love it when people listen because they typically win when they do!
As for the rest of the board races:
- Dale Berman beat Richard Leonard in the 2nd
- Mavis Bates beat incumbent Angela Thomas in the 4th
- Verne Tepe beat perennial candidate Randy Hopp in the 22nd
- And Mark Davoust beat Steve Oscarson in the 14th
Oh! And with Joe Biden’s three primary victories last night, stick a fork in Bernie Sanders, he’s done. Please do the right thing for the Party and drop out Mr. Sanders!
Second-to-lastly, my Stetson’s off to Election Director Ray Esquivel and the entire Kane County Clerk’s Office for what appears to be a flawless performance under the most difficult election conditions I’ve borne witness to in 61 years.
And lastly, more than one moving-on-to-the-general Republican reached out to me terrified that only 24,000 Republicans cast a primary ballot to 50,500 scurrilous Democrats. But if anyone counts on that two-to-one split in November, they’ll be sadly disappointed. There was no top tier race to bring out those GOP voters, and the coronavirus only exacerbated that stay at home mentality.
Put more simply, Trump v. Biden may well mean a record turnout on both sides.
As is always the case with the election recap columns, I look forward to your questions and comments!