CHICAGO - The Cook County GOP chairman's race started to heat up this week when Chicago GOP vice-chairman Chris Cleveland announced his bid for Cook County Chairman, followed by incumbent Aaron Del Mar's announcement he was seeking re-election.
Support from black ward committeemen is being sought by both Del Mar and Cleveland. While Cleveland tells IR he's got the votes needed to knock off DelMar, it is being reported that Del Mar is calling in favors from Bruce Rauner, whom he endorsed, and who Del Mar says has endorsed him for re-election.
According to Cleveland, black ward GOP committeemen are upset that they're not getting financial support from Del Mar's coffers to get out the vote like they say they'll need in November. They're looking to Chicago GOP's Chris Cleveland to bring in a new day of outreach to minority communities, and many are lining up against Del Mar.
Del Mar told Michael Sneed the black ward committeemen are supporting him, and a summit between the West and Southside GOP ward committeemen and Cleveland has been cancelled.
"The meeting on Monday between Chicago's black committeemen and Vice Chairman Cleveland is still on," Bill Delay, Committeeman of Chicago's 18th Ward and Deputy Chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, told Illinois Review. "Anyone who says otherwise doesn't know what they're talking about."
Rauner's campaign declined to comment on where exactly the GOP gubernatorial candidate stands in the Del Mar vs. Cleveland race, but Cleveland says he's looking forward to working with Rauner to bring in Cook County GOP votes next November, and believes he'll be able to gain the votes needed to win the chairmanship.
"A substantial majority of the Cook County Republican Committeemen are supporting my campaign. They're committed to reform and to creating an active Republican organization. While I appreciate the time and effort that Aaron [Del Mar] has put into the party, I do not see that changing in the coming weeks.
"The 43rd Ward provided the highest percentage of votes for Bruce Rauner of any city ward, 68.74%, and highest vote total for him of any city ward, 1,489. We look forward to working with the Rauner campaign to bring similar success to Cook County."