The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. – Winston Churchill
When we last left off, we were getting ready to move on to the Kane County-wide contests, so let’s get right to it!
4. Kane Countywide offices
I’m trying to come up with another way of saying “there were no surprises” just to mix it up a bit, but nothing seems to work like saying there were no surprises here either.
County Clerk Jack Cunningham is a perfect example of how a Republican can regularly get reelected by simply doing their job and avoiding the horse manure hyper-partisanship and long resolved social issue stupidity that dooms most of ‘em in Illinois. Aside from a few signs, Jack didn’t lift a campaign finger to win by 8 points.
And he pulled off that great showing despite Chris Lauzen’s specious “election irregularities” attacks and Kane County Republican chairman Andro Lerario going after him on social media for not towing the MAGA “the election was stolen” line.
Speaking of Chris Lauzen, he won the treasurer’s race by a very un-Lauzen like margin of just 4 percent. Had his Democratic opponent, Jeffrey Pripusich, mounted any modicum of a real campaign he probably would’ve won, particularly with the Kane County Chronicle taking aim at Lauzen every step of the way.
There was a time when local newspapers refused to run anything that could be even mildly perceived as favoring a candidate in the waning weeks of an election to avoid any appearance of taking sides. But since fake reporter Brenda Schory and Shaw Media have no scruples whatsoever, in addition to going after Lauzen in the final two weeks, they did the same thing in the Ugaste – Robertson race. It didn’t work there, either.
As far as Lauzen getting elected again goes, those monthly board meetings are about to get a lot more interesting. My advice to the chairman is that she could resolve any potential 2023 budget deficit by selling pay-per-view tickets to those get togethers. Watching Lauzen throw his typical bombs into that thin-skinned Democratic crowd promises to be more than fascinating.
My plan is to win the concession stand bid.
Just as Jack Cunningham fared far better than the rest of the Kane County Republicans, Sheriff Ron Hain led the Democratic slate by destroying his hapless opponent by a resounding 14 points. Jeff Bodin never figured out what his campaign message was, he used ineffective messaging mediums, and he almost exclusively resorted to personal attacks instead of running on his own merit (or the lack thereof).
The first tenet of my soon-to-be bestselling book, “So You Want to Win a Local Election,” is to pick a race you can win, and this certainly wasn’t one of them. The second is that the going negative strategy rarely works at the local level.
Now that he’s persistently torn his boss a new one in the face of an epic defeat, I wouldn’t be putting any money on his long-term Kane County employment prospects anytime soon.
But what really tells you what kind of “man” Bodin is, is he never called Ron to concede on election night or the day after. If you can’t perform that abundantly simple civil task, what does that say about the kind of sheriff he would’ve been?
Let’s move on to those wars of attrition known as Kane County board races.
5. Kane County Board
So, why are county board contests, like judicial races, battles of attrition?
First and foremost, board districts are relatively small compared to the even year standard and they generally consist of full townships which makes them much more difficult to gerrymander. So, while you’ll get some wholly Democratic (Elgin, Aurora) and Republican districts (western Kane County), there are a slew of Collar County board districts that maintain a close political balance.
The second reason is, particularly in the more urban districts where county oversight rarely comes into play, no one pays any attention to who their board member is so they reflexively reelect incumbents. So, success in these campaigns consists of a slog of knocking on doors, trying to come up with the cash for one or two mailers, and getting signs on as many front lawns as possible.
To wit, all 11 of the challenged board incumbents prevailed, though some races were a lot closer than they should’ve been:
- Kenyon beat Peneses by 1 point in the 16th
- Surges beat Boe by 4 points in the 21st
- Tepe beat Meyer by less than 2 points in the 22nd
- Kious beat Buck by 1 point in the 23rd
The fact that Teppe and Kious are Democrats and Surgess and Kenyon are Republicans clearly demonstrates the immense power of county board incumbency.
Another example of how name recognition can make all the difference is Democrat Leslie Juby beating Republican Brian Jones by 5 points in the 11th. Jones worked his butt off while Juby essentially sat on her ample butt and did nothing. But a combination of a familiarity with her name from two terms on the Geneva school board and an overarching Kane County Democratic shift put her over the top.
The fact that Juby was a disaster as a school board member is utterly immaterial because, as the great P. T. Barnum aptly noted, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity in a race that’s comes down to who gets the most ‘impressions’”
Well, those weren’t his exact words, but the quote’s close enough.
Considering how Republican John Martin regularly routed the opposition in that still-red district, there’s absolutely no reason Jones should’ve lost to a non-campaigning Democrat. My theory is he failed to come up with a cohesive message and similarly failed to leverage his best support options.
The taxpayers’ only solace there is, unlike a small 7-member school board, Juby’s gross incompetence will be greatly diluted on a 24-member county board.
As you might imagine, I was saddened by my good friend Jeff Meyer’s slim loss to the likes of Vern Tepe in the 22nd district, but that race was so close that Tepe will likely refrain from uttering the phrase “why are we so afraid to raise taxes” in the foreseeable future.
Part three will grace these hallowed pages on Tuesday!