Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Chicago GOP

I saw this Mark Brown column thanks to The Capitol Fax blog. It was very interesting. I've been trying to follow the Cook County Republican scene for a while and well it's difficult to follow. There isn't much information on them.

This column alludes to the lack of status of being a GOP Ward committeeman in Chicago. Here check this quote out...

"We're going around the committeemen," said Tom Swiss, executive director of the Cook County Republican Party, who says part of the problem is the lack of status and influence that comes with being a Republican committeeman in a Democratic town.

"You're kind of the king of an anthill," Swiss said.

Often reading Chicago political stories I get the feeling that the major factions in state politics have carved their territory. For instance Democrats got Chicago, if not Cook County and the Republicans might have the rest of the territory in the state. Of course there are outposts of Republicans or Democrats around the state.

For instance Chicago is a Democratic city. It says so in the article although it's painfully obvious if you're actually paying attention to local politics. However how many knows that Chicago has at least one lone Republican on the city council. There's even a Republican outpost in the city with others trying to make this true in other wards around Chicago.

So we see the frustration of a dedicated Republican on the north side of the city who can't even get in touch with her official party leader in her ward. Ultimately the Tony Peraica for Cook County Board President installs her as their coordinator for her ward. She wants to know where her committeeman is.

Mark Brown found him and this is why he's been absentee...

(Kurt) Eckhardt, the wayward 48th Ward committeeman, says it's more often the case that GOP committeemen are "just not into it" after years of frustration, listing himself among them. "What can be more thankless and unrewarding than being a Republican committeeman? I wasn't put on this Earth to be an unpaid volunteer for these guys," Eckhardt said, referring to the party's candidates. "Especially, half of them I can't stand."

Eckhardt, surprised I tracked him down in Florida, says his attitude wasn't helped any by getting hung out to dry by party leaders in his 2004 campaign to unseat Rep. Jan Schakowsky. But he promised to return after Labor Day to help Peraica, whom he likes, then leave for good.

There have been other stories how Democratic leaders have installed some of their own people to the ward GOP committeeman spot. Then there's that explanation by Kurt Eckhardt. Even worse some of these individuals are said in this column to be traitorous and disengaged.

At the start of this campaign Peraica lamented the lack of a two-party system in Cook County and it seems he has some work to do. That is if building the Cook County GOP is his priority.

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