CHICAGO - If you're a Republican that lives in Cook County and would like a say in how the Cook County GOP will endorse for next March's GOP primary, you have just a few more days to get your two cents in. Cook County GOP Chairman Aaron Del Mar has asked township chairmen and Chicago ward Republican committeemen to report -- by next Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 -- who they're favoring for the March 2014 statewide primary. The results of those reports will determine who the state's most-populated county Republicans endorse for the 2014 GOP primary.
Historically, county endorsement sessions are held after local townships make their picks from precinct captain levels up. Some township and ward organizations don't plan to endorse until after the holidays. Wheeling Township GOP, for instance, plans their endorsement session for January 11, 2014.
"We've been telling committeemen for months that we're going to endorse this way this year," Cook County GOP spokesman Collin Corbett told Illinois Review. "How they determine who they pick on the ballots is up to the committeemen and their organizations."
Corbett says the county GOP endorsement ballots were sent to committeemen with bar codes that cannot be duplicated. The committeemen, who are allowed access to vote on Cook County GOP's website via password, can return their votes via mail or vote directly onto the organization's website.
"When the voting is completed, we will open the count to a committee, and publish on the web exactly how each township and ward committeeman voted and how their votes are weighted, so the process is transparent," Corbett said. The requirement for a candidate to be endorsed is for one to get 60% or more of the vote. If a candidate gets over 50% of the vote but does not cross the 60% threshold required for an endorsement, they will be “recommended” but not officially endorsed.
This year's voting process is a significant technological upgrade. "As far as we know, this is the first time the Internet has been used by the Cook County GOP to affect the county's endorsement," Corbett said.
The organization is focused on the December 18th deadline and plans to release the endorsement information before Christmas.
In the meantime, there are questions about why Cook County GOP doesn't seem to be as concerned about filling the ballot slots with countywide candidates. Thus far, the GOP has no one running for county board chairman, state's attorney, assessor, treasurer or clerk.
Corbett said while petitions weren't filed yet, Cook Count GOP Chairman Aaron DelMar plans to have candidates fill those slots by next November. "We may not have their names on the March 18 GOP primary, but we'll have names for those offices by the November General Election," he said.
The list of Cook County GOP township and ward committeemen and their contact information is HERE