Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bolingbrook, Orland Park make issues of Trump, upcoming gov campaigns

Gubernatorial candidates already are starting to stir up talk (Bruce Rauner and duct tape?) for their election cycles of 2018, while we’re supposed to have moved beyond the 2016 process that saw us pick Donald J. Trump.
Will voters see Claar of Bolingbrook...

Yet in a pair of suburbs, the municipal elections that will take place Tuesday will most likely be influenced by people whose primary concerns aren’t the local candidates running for office.

FOR IT SEEMS that long-time mayors in Orland Park and Bolingbrook will wind up having to deal with outside concerns as they try to keep their political posts.
... and McLaughlin of Orland Park?

Bolingbrook, in particular, is going to get national attention, particularly if long-time incumbent Roger Claar actually gets defeated by Jackie Traynere, a member of the Will County Board.

Bolingbrook in most cases would be inclined to give Claar a ninth four-year term in office. He is like many suburban government officials who have long stints in power largely because no one else is particularly interested in holding political office locally.

If anything, Claar is a Bolingbrook institution – the community otherwise known as the one that once employed Drew Peterson as a police officer.
Will names like Trump, ...

WHICH IS WHY during last year’s election cycle, Claar felt compelled to let people know what he thought of the presidential election. He became particularly enamored with one of the candidates.

And when many political establishment types didn’t think much publicly of his preferred candidate, he took it on himself to put together a Chicago-area fundraiser for the candidate – who we now know is President Donald J. Trump.
... Rauner, ...

Not that it did Trump any good locally – Will County was like all the other counties of the Chicago metro area (except for McHenry) in preferring Hillary Clinton. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence took a mere 43 percent of the vote last year.

Yet Claar became so over-the-top in his preference for Trump that it stood in peoples’ minds, particularly that of Traynere. She challenged him, and she’s getting some backing for her campaign that’s going out of its way to associate every knuckleheaded act of Trump with that of Claar.
... and Pritzker predominate?

IF A TRUMP association winds up seriously costing Claar his post, that will be something that generates attention – particularly since the Trumpites of our society want to believe that association with The Donald is the key to victory.

The southwest suburbs have become a particular gathering spot for people of the Islamic religious faith, and there are strong Muslim groups taking up the cause of beating Claar.

Even J.B. Pritzker of the family whose fortune comes from Hyatt Hotels has taken up Traynere’s cause, campaigning with her in Bolingbrook while trying to talk up his own 2018 aspirations for Illinois governor.
Jackie Traynere had gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker in tow. Photo provided by Pritzker
That post has also become a factor in Orland Park, where Dan McLaughlin, who began as a village trustee in the 1980s and is now seeking his seventh term as mayor, is being challenged by an ideologue group getting its funds in part from Rauner.

McLAUGHLIN ONCE TRIED running for state office (Illinois treasurer in 1998, he lost), but otherwise has focused his attention on Orland Park. Although the Liberty Principles group wants us to believe that McLaughlin has been around too long.

Too high a tax rate, a fall in property values and the mayor’s position becoming a full-time job are the allegations being spewed in television spots and mailers that are giving McLaughlin his most serious political challenge of his life.
PEKAU: Benefitting from ideologue campaign

These kind of challenges are rare at the municipal level – most of the people running for government office on Tuesday are unchallenged. No one else wants the positions, and I’m sure Claar and McLaughlin are wondering to themselves what could they have done wrong to deserve such vehement challengers.

Although in the case of McLaughlin, his opponent, Keith Pekau, who’s never held government office before, isn’t even mentioned in the campaigning – that puts its focus purely on the concept of “Dump McLaughlin.” It will be intriguing to see how many people – inspired by Rauner bucks – feel the need to do just that.


Dean wants a comeback
EDITOR’S NOTE: One interesting campaign will be in suburban Riverdale, where incumbent Mayor Lawrence Jackson is being challenged by former Mayor Deyon Dean. Local electoral board officials controlled by Jackson had kicked Dean off the ballot, saying his independent candidacy was improperly listed on nominating petitions. The Illinois Supreme Court last week disagreed and ordered him reinstated – even though early voting had already begin with ballots excluding Dean. New ballots will be available Tuesday, and we’ll see if the campaign chaos causes confusion.

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