PLAINFIELD - The township of Plainfield and the slate of Tea Party candidates that swept elections in Will County Tuesday night are sure to become a winning model for Illinois conservatives statewide. Local elections can be tough and ugly, but for grassroots activists like those in Plainfield who are stepping into public service for the first time, those campaigns are especially gratifying to win.
"Every single candidate we supported won with exception of one. But, that candidate made up 100 votes in the first batch of AB votes. She is now only down 45 votes and we expect her to win too. It's a sweep," local campaign advisor Mark Batinick boasted to Illinois Review early Wednesday.
Tuesday night's winners have been working together and supporting each other for a few years, attending each other's fundraisers, walking in each other's parades, carrying each other's literature door-to-door, and energizing voters along the way. Many of the candidates first came together during the 2009 rise of the Joliet Area Tax Day Tea Party with volunteer leaders Tim and Deb Kraulidis.
What has become a tight knit group of fiscal and social conservatives hosted a 10,000 person Tea Party Express rally in Lemont on Labor Day 2009, a news-grabbing GOP primary gubernatorial candidate forum in 2010, and a pre-election rally featuring Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. The group was also a key element in the success of Congressman Adam Kinzinger's first win and the URF's Right Nation conservative gathering that brought in an array of national conservative movement leaders.
While observers said the Tea Party movement nationwide was waning, the Will County-based Tea Partiers informed themselves on local issues and honed their political skills during state legislative and gubernatorial races. Other like-minded local office incumbents lent their campaign expertise to newcomers.
In November 2012, several in the group ran unsuccessful bids for Will County Board, but determined to use their experience to step up initiatives for 2013 local races that immediately followed.
With the synergy created from recent wins in nearby Homer/Lockport Township Tea Party conservatives like Steve Ballich, Vivienne Porter and others, along with the Plainfield Township Republican Organization, Will County is developing into a campaign model conservatives statewide can follow.
The Plainfield Patch gives a full run-down of Tuesday's winners-
In the Village of Plainfield, incumbent Mayor Mike Collins and trustees Margie Bonuchi, Jim Racich and Garrett Peck won re-election.
In Plainfield School District, incumbents Michelle Smith and Rod Westfall were re-elected, and will be joined by William Slabich Jr. and William Dargan.
Trustee Tony Fremarek was elected the new Plainfield Township supervisor, and Matthew Starr, Ernie Knight, Debbie Kraulidis and incumbent Chuck Willard were elected to the trustee board. Yvonne Sencial Bolton will become the new Plainfield Township collector, and incumbent Highway Commissioner Sam Reichert, Assessor Erin Kjlaich and Clerk Anita Gerardy ran unopposed.
Wheatland Township will get a brand new board. The new GOP slate swept the races, with current clerk Chuck Kern unseating incumbent supervisor (and former Wheatland Township Republican Organization president) Todd Morse, who ran as an Independent. Deputy Clerk Bill Alstrom will take Kern's current spot, while Dave Monaghan will succeed incumbent assessor Kelli Lord (also an Independent candidate this time around). Darren Bennefield, Mike Crockett, Deb Holscher and Raquel Mitchell will become the new Wheatland Township trustees, while Mark Troyanowski unseated Highway Commissioner Dayton Jarnagin. Ben Peterson won the slate's spot for tax collector.
The Plainfield Library Board's Patricia Lynn Miller, an incumbent, was re-elected along with Vicki Knight, Gretchen Fritz and Samantha Hurtado.
Plainfield Park District candidates Peter Steinys and Janet Silosky ran unopposed.
The Plainfield Fire Protection District candidates William Barnes and James Lehmann were victorious.