'Say goodbye' to Chicago GOP if Morrison amendment adopted
A proposed initiative that would virtually destroy the Republican Party in Chicago and forfeit any chance of fair oversight of elections in Cook County is slated to go before county Republican committeemen on Wednesday night.
The proposed amendment to the GOP Cook County bylaws -- in a shocking maneuver – would allow Democrats to serve as Republican ward committeemen. These committeemen, under a change to the election laws made in 2014 by the Democratically controlled legislature, pick election judges. Before the change, the county chairman picked the judges.
“This sends us back to the old days of hack Democrats overseeing rigged elections,” Chris Cleveland, chairman of the Chicago GOP, told Chicago City Wire. “You can say goodbye to (the) Republican Party in the city of Chicago.”
The proposed amendment is the brainchild of Cook County Republican Commissioner Sean Morrison, who in an e-mail to committeemen obtained by Chicago City Wire, cited the cost of litigation and court losses as justification for the amendment.
Several committeemen sued when they were removed from their seats after the approval of a Cleveland amendment in 2016 that Republican committeemen must have refrained from pulling a Democratic ballot over the previous eight years -- three cycles in the election calendar.
The Morrison change says that prospective committeemen must have refrained from pulling a Democratic ballot in the prior two years only, virtually opening the door for anyone by including those who did not vote in the prior election.
On the legal end, Cleveland said that the Chicago GOP won one of the cases on the federal level, and the one case cited by Morrison was decided by “hack Democrats on the Chicago Board of Elections and in the Cook County courts.”
“The (federal) judge ripped them over their arguments,” Cleveland said. “We got attorneys fees covered and the Board of Elections dropped out of the lawsuit.”
In all, 13 committeemen had to give up their seats after the adoption of the 2016 Cleveland amendment. Cleveland compiled a sampling of those who would get their seats back if the Morrison amendment goes through:
“Maria Bailey, 20th Ward
Maria is the mother of Kevin Bailey, the Democratic committeeman. Maria had never pulled a Republican ballot prior to running for office. She has a Pritzker sign in her front yard.”
“George McKinley, 37th Ward
Magically, all of George's petition signatures are identical to the ones for Emma Mitts, the 37th Ward Democratic committeeman and Alderman. It seems that someone carried both a Democrat and a Republican petition down the streets of the 37th. Perhaps it isn't magic: George works in Emma's office.”
“Fran Sapone, 29th Ward
She, too, had never pulled a Republican ballot in her life before she ran for office. She later filed suit before the Chicago Board of Elections, seeking to remove a slated Republican congressional candidate from the ballot, leaving the Democrat with no opponent. Her attorney was the treasurer of the 29th Ward Democrats.”
“Larry Nelson, 24th Ward
You may have met Larry at previous meetings. Larry has pulled Democratic ballots because, as he said, ‘you have to.’ Most people who have met Larry would agree that he is not capable of recruiting and organizing elections judges, and yet year after year, he delivers a stack of perfectly filled-out election judge applications to the Board of Elections, all of whom are Democrats. Wherever could he have gotten them?”
“Robert Handzik, 23rd Ward
When people talk about Madigoons, they're talking about Handzik. He's in one of Madigan's wards. He circulates petitions for Madigan's fake Republican opponents. No surprise -- he was Madigan's fake Republican opponent himself in 2012.”
“Gabriel Trejo, 13th Ward
The 13th is one of Madigan's wards. I haven't much to say about Gabriel, because he doesn't appear to exist. He doesn't respond to communications, has never shown up, there are no known photographs of him. The only information we have is that he was a reliable Democrat voter until 2016.”
“Adrian Wright, 3rd Ward
Adrian has a remarkable resume. Let me quote: ‘Publicist/Media Coordinator, 20th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, Editor, 20th Ward Newspaper; wrote articles, editorials, organized topics and supervised staff for 20th Ward and alderman. Arranged and coordinated press conferences, media appearances and interviews. Organized public relations efforts, recruit speakers for ward events...’ And: ‘7th Ward Outstanding Precinct Captain’. And: ‘3rd Ward Community Liaison.’ She claimed to have been active in the 43rd Ward Republicans, but as someone who has been active in the 43rd Ward Republicans for, oh, 30 years now, I've never seen her.”
“And my favorite, Steven Graves of the 19th ward.
In 2014, Steven had an epiphany at age 61 and decided he was a Republican. This happened after a long career as a patronage hack in the assessor's office, where he claimed to be a top Democratic precinct captain. Steven had voted straight Democrat for decades prior to that, and had contributed every year to the Democratic party and to the alderman. Seven months after he became a born-again Republican, though, he wrote another check to the Democratic Alderman. He still has never contributed to any Republican candidate. He has sued us, and he is represented by the son of a well-known Democratic attorney.”
“Freedom of association is a basic American right,” Cleveland said. “The Morrison amendment takes that right away from members of the Republican Party.”