Wednesday, November 19, 2014

EXTRA: Treasurer-elect Mike Frerichs

It seems we finally have a new state treasurer. And no, we didn’t have to endure a lengthy legal fight along the lines of the Gore v. Bush battle of 2000.

It was Wednesday morning that Republican nominee Tom Cross decided to concede defeat to Democrat Mike Frerichs in the Nov. 4 elections. Even Illinois Republican Chairman Tim Schneider went along and issued a statement along those lines, although he seemed more interested in praising Cross than admitting GOP defeat.

THEN AGAIN, I don’t think Frerichs – a state senator from Champaign -- cares, so long as the record shows he got more votes than did Cross – a state representative from Oswego and former Illinois House Republican leader.

For the record, it seems that Frerichs got about 9,400 more votes than did Cross – taking barely over 48 percent of the vote to Cross’ just under 48 percent. The remainder of the ballots actually cast went to Libertarian nominee Matthew Skopek.

There are those who are ranting that Chicago and suburban Cook County “stole” the election – mostly from people who truly do not comprehend how small their rural counties are compared to the inner part of the Chicago metropolitan area.

Although for those who were going out of their way during the past two weeks to see daily updates about the vote (as assorted mail-in and provisional ballots continued to be counted) noticed that Frerichs crept into the lead earlier this week and managed to hold it BEFORE the final Chicago/suburb totals were in.

FOR THOSE WHO want to think Chicago rammed a Democrat through as state treasurer against their will, it would seem that what the Chicago-area vote did was bolstered the margin of victory.

Instead of winning by a few hundred votes, Frerichs becomes treasurer-elect by a figure just low-enough that it can’t be rounded off to 10,000.

Which is still a close result for a statewide election in which about 3 million people cast ballots. If anything, it may be some of those outer counties that kept Cross from the office that way too many political observers wanted to believe he was going to win.

Frerichs actually won Will County with 58.5 percent of the vote, and also took north suburban Lake County. And his suburban Cook percent was only 53.67 percent.

WHICH COULD WELL be why Cross chose not to get involved in any kind of demand for a recount – which is not something Illinois law allows for on an automatic basis.

He saves himself significant legal expenses, leaves open the option of a political future (by not being a sore loser), and only manages to offend the hard-core Republican partisans who can’t get over the fact that having a gubernatorial nominee who took 101 of 102 counties does NOT mean a political wipeout of the opposition.

As for those who are going to rant about “stolen” elections, I don’t think the rest of us should be too concerned. Those people were going to be offended no matter what happened – and they’ll probably revert back to ranting about Kennedy/Nixon of 1960 before long.


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