Sweeney's choice to succeed him next year is Art Niewiardowski, the Township Highway Commissioner. Niewiardowski serves as the organization's communications director and has been involved in the group's efforts for several years.
Challenging Niewiardowski is Scott Lietzow, who hasn't been involved in the organization until recently, but who was involved in local politics for the Dold for Congress campaign in 2012 and who has been working with Young Republicans while attending Harper College.
The Elk Grove GOP seat is the only open committeeman slot in March, and Lietzow's candidacy is backed by Cook County GOP Chairman Aaron Del Mar, who is working to strengthen his political power countywide.
Lietzow's youth and lack of involvement in Elk Grove Township's GOP led to comments Saturday that he shouldn't expect to be elected committeeman without working his way up through the organization's ranks.
Niewiardowski supporter Charles Masny's comments are now on YouTube, and the outrage spewed into a curt release from the Lietzow campaign Monday, saying Masny's comments were meant to smear.
“The truth is my opponents can’t run on their record so they are attempting to brand me as inexperienced by attacking my military service” Lietzow said.
“I think it is disrespectful to attack someone’s military service at a time when thousands of men and women are away from their families, serving our country overseas this holiday season” Lietzow said. “Enlisted Marines are some of the finest leaders I've had the honor to serve with and I think Mr. Masny’s comments were outrageous, especially for a Republican.”
But the other side pulled sharp elbow punches as well.
Lietzow opponents say during Saturday's meeting Lietzow's campaign manager Carl Arriaza falsely accused a particular individual of being an employee of Elk Grove Township in an effort to tie a negative comment to Niewiardowski. Conservative activist Allen Skillicorn reportedly called township employees, “patronage do-nothing employees.” Lietzow didn't jump in to distance himself from those shots.
Sweeney says the offensive comment was not made by a precinct captain or an Elk Grove Township GOP board member.
"Everyone else treated Lietzow with respect and these accusations about township employees are shameful," he said.
After publication, Scott Lietzow wrote the following to Illinois Review:
Carl Arriaza is not my Campaign Manager. Any statements that may have been made about township government do not reflect my opinions. This issue is not about township government, it is about my opposition shamelessly attacking my military service, to discredit me.