Friday, December 20, 2013

EXTRA: Is there enough Cook Co. GOP for its endorsement to matter?

The Republican Party organization for Cook County apparently is sick and tired of being thought of as the GOP’s weak spot in the Land of Lincoln.

They’re planning to make a public endorsement this weekend concerning who they’d like to be the Republican nominee for governor come the 2014 election cycle.

WHICH IN MOST election cycles wouldn’t mean much. Because the Republican Party in this part of Illinois has become less and less important in recent decades. The idea that state elections pit Democratic Chicago versus the Republican rest of the state just isn’t accurate any longer.

It’s now Democratic Cook County and portions of the five surrounding counties against the rest of Illinois – which is why this state has gone from the early 1990s when it was still an accurate bellwether of the nation to being solid Democrat nowadays.

So what really will be gained by whichever gubernatorial candidate gets the GOP backing to take on Gov. Pat Quinn come the November general election?

Bruce Rauner, the North Shore venture capitalist who has close personal ties to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, would like to have it. Other gubernatorial candidates don’t want him to have it.

THEY ARE TRYING to spin the possibility of Rauner gaining the endorsement by saying that a Cook endorsement could be harmful. Gubernatorial dreamer Kirk Dillard told the Associated Press that voters in the rest of Illinois are so determined to have someone with no Chicago ties that a county GOP endorsement. “could be a hindrance in a place like Peoria.”

Yet I have to confess to wondering if this isn’t so much spin as a realization of fact.

In the last election cycle for Illinois governor, some 765,534 people voted in the Republican primary – of which about 162,000 came from Cook County. Which translates into roughly four votes from other parts of the state for every vote that comes from Cook!

QUINN: Will Cook GOP boost him?
Unlike the Democratic Party primary where somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of the vote can come from Cook – and most of the rest comes from the few sort-of urbanized pockets of Illinois (such as the areas around Peoria, East St. Louis and Champaign-Urbana – those crazy college kids!).

MY POINT BEING that I also recall that 2010 election cycle as being one where eventual GOP nominee William Brady – who’s trying again this time – really did have the whole rest of the state wrapped up.

Yet he lost because Brady got tagged in Cook with the label as being too alien from our own experience. Cook voters overwhelmed his dominance in the rest of Illinois.

I don’t see that much has changed. I sense there are people in that “rest of Illinois” who have been gnashing their teeth the past four years who will try again to win political influence away from Chicago.

Why do I sense that the way to kill interest in rural Illinois in next year’s election cycle is to put Rauner in that “top” post on the ballot? Because the perception is out there that Emanuel himself would just as soon have a sympathetic Rauner even over someone of his own political party like Quinn!

COULD THE COOK County Republican Party’s attempt to make a statement and be relevant wind up being a factor in Quinn gaining re-election?

It might be the exact opposite of the party’s intention, and could be why some people are engaging in the incredibly premature speculation over whether the Mighty Quinn – the one-time political gadfly and pain in the establishment’s butt – could become the state’s longest serving governor.


No comments: