WHEELING - Wheeling Township GOP Committeeman Ruth O'Connell says her track record shows she's a builder, and that's what the Cook County GOP needs looking ahead to 2012. An election to select recently-resigned Cook County GOP chairman Lee Roupas' successor will be held September 15th, and O'Connell says she's prepared to take on the job.
"I think I have a good track record in Wheeling Township and several committeemen have asked me to consider running," O'Connell said. "I am a builder and I would work to put a team together like the one we have here in Wheeling."
Thus far, the names of O'Connell, Sig Vaznelis of Lemont Township GOP, Aaron Del Mar of Palatine Township GOP and Shawn Murphy of Worth Township GOP have emerged as potential candidates. To win the chairmanship, one of them will need to get over half of the 159,431 weighted votes among the ward and township committeemen.
"The job priorities would be appointments, fundraising and candidate recruiting," O'Connell said. "We'll have to work to build trust and stop the infighting. I've got ideas about how to put together committees and take the fight to the Democrats."
Illinois Review asked O'Connell how she would deal with party leaders who've been closely aligned with Cook County Democrats over the years, a sore spot with many in the Cook County GOP organization.
"I think we'd have to start with their voting records, and see how they've been voting over the years," O'Connell said. "We need to go to the precinct level and begin digging there to see where the base is. We'll need to build from there."
O'Connell has worked for years in the Wheeling Township GOP, accumulating data precinct by precinct, learning what issues concerns each voter and making sure each precinct is worked before each election. Wheeling Township GOP's proud of being crucial in the 2010 election of GOOP State Rep. David Harris and Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak.
Illinois Review has started polling the Cook County committeemen, and will report our findings as they come in. The special meeting on September 15 will be held at Chicago's Parthenon Restaurant.