CHICAGO - When a vacancy opened in Chicago's 7th Ward for GOP Committeeman, Cook County GOP Chairman Aaron Del Mar said he asked his vice-chairman from the neighboring 6th Ward - Darnell Macklin - for recommendations. Macklin suggested local activist Charon Bryson, who has a history of voting Democrat in Illinois primaries.
The 7th Ward is a tough ward for Republicans, Del Mar told Illinois Review Thursday.
"There were less than 100 Republican ballots pulled in March among the thousands of people that live there," he said. "I took Darnell's recommendation of Charon Bryson with two specifics: 1. She would have to prove she's changing parties and 2. She's have to be willing to work hard and get out the vote in her ward."
Bryson is living up to that agreement, Del Mar said. In August, she made a public announcement that she's officially no longer a Democrat at a press conference at Chicago City Hall, and she's working with True the Vote representative Sharon Meroni to straighten out voter records in her area.
"I appointed her, and within the party structure I can also take away her position if she shows any inclination that she's a traitor to the GOP," Del Mar said. "So far, she's doing what we've asked."
Bryson was unavailable for comment, but her Linked In profile says she's currently working as campaign manager for a aldermanic candidate in the 7th Ward.
Del Mar said Cook County GOP's campaign offices for the November 2014 election are in predominately African-American communities. He said this year is a real opportunity to reach out to voters in those parts of the city that Republicans rarely try to tap into. "We think there are votes in those areas, and this is the year we're going to see if that can happen," Del Mar said.
Del Mar said he was still looking to fill three Cook County GOP committeeman vacancies in Stickney Township, the 22nd and the 45th Wards. Information for those interested is on the Cook County GOP website.