The First Ward election recap 2023 – part three

The First Ward election recap 2023 – part three

A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen. – Winston Churchill

So, let’s continue with our Kane County board post-election analysis.

To a lesser degree, the board’s creeping Democratic shift comes down to all the folks fleeing Cook County for points west, but much more so, it’s the vast difference between the party chairmen. Former KC GOP chairman Ken Shepro is a brilliant man, but his capacity to put people off and refusal to lift a finger to help any other candidate consistently put his candidates at a distinct disadvantage.

His replacement, Andro Lerario, who spends most of his time falling for Facebook and MAGA hoaxes, is even worse. He has no clue about what the job really entails and he’s towing the Trumper line at a time when that populist movement is in it’s inevitable steep decline.

Meanwhile, KC Democratic party chairman Mark Guethle simply works his but off to get Democratic candidates to work theirs off for each other, and that kind of – even temporary – cohesiveness, wins elections. Mark is the best party Chairman I’ve encountered in 16 years at the keyboard, and until the KC GOP leadership decides to measure up, the local Party of Lincoln will continue its deterioration into political oblivion.

Chris Lauzen’s persistent penchant for pursuing decades old feuds isn’t helping the party any, either.

But before the Democrats start celebrating their supposed “solid” board majority, the truth is board members:

  • Anita Lewis
  • Deb Allen
  • Dale Berman, and
  • Ron Ford

are actually Republicans, and Jarett Sanchez often refuses to go along with the inexorable Dem trend towards tax/fee increases and rampant political crony hiring. So, while it may look like the Dems will hold a 15 to 9 board edge, the reality is it’s a lot closer to a fiscally sane 13 to 11 Republican majority.

If soon-to-be Treasurer Lauzen actually chose to be a leader and not a distraction, something that’ll never happen, that conservative bloc could actually stymie the Dem’s effort to spend other peoples’ money at every turn.


6. Judicial

November 8 was a BAD day to be a Republican judge aiming for anything above the circuit level. And those electoral thrashings took place despite our previous stipulation that abortion rights will never be at risk in the Land of Lincoln.

Elizabeth Rochford ran the kind of stellar campaign that sent opponent Mark Curran, who was miles ahead in the name recognition game, down to a 10-point defeat. Her team proved particularly adept at labelling Curran as an attorney in name only and hanging his bizarrely bad post-Roe v. Wade “This is why we voted for Trump” comment around his neck.

I think Mark tends to forget he lives in the purple-at-best state of Illinois.

The singular Supreme Court surprise, of course, was Democrat Mary O’Brien unseating Republican incumbent Michael Burke. But the biggest indication of the anti-Roe repeal vote was Lake County judge Chris Kennedy destroying Kane County’s own Susan Clancy-Boles by 40,000 votes in the second appellate district contest.

That’s what we in the media biz call an “ass whuppin’!” The eminently unpopular Boles somehow managed to lose her home county which tells you all you need to know about her “popularity” and campaign work ethic.

She did, however, win her 16th circuit retention race which means she’ll be plaguing Kane County courtrooms and cutting down neighborhood trees for years to come.

And speaking of judicial retention, I was besieged by emails and calls congratulating me for my seemingly fruitful effort to get Kevin Busch removed from the bench.

First, writing one short paragraph in a much larger column wasn’t all that much of an effort. And second, though it appeared that Busch failed to meet the 60 percent “yes” vote mark in the KC clerk’s election results webpage, it was an illusion based on how county clerk Jack Cunningham incorrectly calculated vote total percentages.

The clerk’s office based that long division based the total number of ballots cast in the district in question – not the number of votes in that specific race. Since 20,000 people voted for governor but didn’t make it down ballot to judicial retention, it appeared as if Busch fell just short with 59 percent of the vote. But when you correctly divide Busch’s 94,000 “yes” votes by the 136,000 total ballots cast on that question, it comes out to 69 percent, which is more than enough to satisfy the minimum requirement.

Even if I had put more than one paragraph’s effort into knocking Kevin off the bench, it wouldn’t have made any difference. In my more than 60 years wandering this third rock from the sun, not a single Illinois circuit judge has failed to be retained.

Not one!

That includes DuPage County judge Patrick O’Shea, who was retained with 70 percent of the vote, even after he was charged with illegally discharging a weapon in his apartment when his neighbor discovered the bullet in hers. The Illinois Court Commission finally did remove him after he lied about sexually harassing two female court employees, but even that revelation wouldn’t have hurt his retention efforts.

Put more simply, if Jesus Christ Himself came down and told voters to remove a judge, it wouldn’t happen.

Oh! And likely as a result of the Busch confusion, the clerk’s office finally revised their math to accurately reflect the vote total percentages.


7. Constitutional Amendments

Despite this writer’s fervent contention that the Worker’s Rights Amendment would “go down in flames,” it inexplicably passed by the slimmest of margins, giving those already powerful Illinois public sector unions even more clout.

And it won on a rather ironic technicality, too. Failing to get the 60 percent of the outright vote required to pass an Illinois Constitutional Amendment, it still managed to acquire 50 percent “yes” votes on all ballots cast. So, while folks who didn’t vote in the Busch retention question weren’t counted as “no” votes, they were in the Amendment referendum. Since the bar was lowered to a simple majority in this secondary possibility, it passed.

I have to say the labor union marketing was superb as they bombarded radio stations with ads that never mentioned the word “union.” They simply said the Amendment would provide workers with the right to “join together” which underscored the power of the right messaging.

Only Illinoisans would be stupid enough to vote for a self-imposed tax increase, because that’s exactly what this BS is.

But all is not lost, Dear Reader! This Amendment was intended to overcome the Supreme Court ruling that Illinois unions could no longer force workers to join their ranks, and it will likely fail in the courts on that very same basis, as well as a slew of other legal challenges.


In our fourth and final installment we’ll discuss those previously promised and abundantly obvious overarching 2022 election themes. The voters weren’t too terribly subtle this round.


Author’s Note:

On the advent of my favorite holiday, I want to wish every one of you a very happy Thanksgiving! We certainly have a lot to be thankful for in this late 2022 return to some semblance of sanity. Unless I’m particularly inspired, there will be no column on Thursday for all the obvious reasons.

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