Time for a Cook County GOP Chairman vote, next Wednesday.
I have had the privilege of working with both Aaron Del Mar and Chris Cleveland. Both are dedicated, both are running. One must lose.
Were I 'king of the party,' I would thank Aaron for his service and give the nod to Cleveland. Chris Cleveland is sharp as a tack and personally committed to recruiting candidates, filling out the ballot, strengthening ballot integrity and ballot security, and raising money for statutory generic party activities to give Bruce Rauner the extra percent or two that will put him over the top.
Aaron, who strikes me as a good guy who wants to help, has had middling success after 23 months on the job. Our ballot is empty. Fundraising is weak. There is no money for generic party activities. Ballot integrity/security are ineffective.
But Aaron has a big distinction Chris cannot match. He is backed by Bruce Rauner.
Aaron came out for Bruce, his township endorsed Bruce, the Cook County Republican Party endorsed Bruce, and his political patron, Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman, organized Bruce's pre-election rally. Aaron is easy to work with and got high marks for assisting.
Chris, on the other hand, invited Bruce to his 43rd Ward, Lincoln Avenue headquarters, as he invited each of the other candidates. If he endorsed in the primary, I never heard about it. He worked hard to recruit an impressive slate of city General Assembly candidates. Cleveland studied results and found that adding candidates down the ballot improves vote totals up the ballot, so he and his Chicago committeemen buddies went to work.
All of politics reduces to two simple questions: Who makes the call? Can they make it stick? Technically, the committeemen make this call. In practice, our gubernatorial candidate makes this decision.
As a non-committeeman, I have no role in selecting the next chairman. But as an activist, I have for years -- here and elsewhere - advocated reconciliation.
Normally, that has meant reconciling 'establishmentarians' with 'reformers,' and vice-versa. We must accept each other, get along, subsume -- or celebrate -- differences, pull in the same direction, and get Bruce Rauner over the finish line first. It is easy to say, "Bill Brady failed us." It is better to ask, "What will we do different this time?" For me, that starts with supporting the Governor candidate's preference, even if i disagree with him.
Chris Cleveland should be Cook County chairman someday. I think he will make a fine chair. But this year, the man whose name is on the line, and who has raised the money for the campaign, has made a call -- it is Aaron Del Mar.
It is our job to support that choice and make the most of it. Congratulations, Aaron. Thank you, Chris. Now, let's get Bruce elected...