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Where’s Roger?

Friday, Mar 31, 2017

* New York Times reporter Julie Bosman

It was supposed to be an easy glide to yet another term for the longtime mayor of this suburb of Chicago. But then Mayor Roger Claar helped throw a fund-raiser for Donald J. Trump and things got complicated. Here is the story of one village election on Tuesday that has become as much about Mr. Trump as the candidates on the ballot.

• The Race: Mayor Claar, 71, an old-school pol, is running for his ninth term, but Jackie Traynere, 54, a labor organizer, is mounting an ambitious challenge.

• Ms. Traynere was so mad about the fund-raising event last fall that she decided to run against Mr. Claar. The Democratic apparatus in Illinois — senators, members of Congress, you name it — is lining up behind her.

• Mayor Claar hasn’t answered our requests for an interview, so we’re hoping to catch up with him today.

Click here or here to follow Julie on her Bolingbrook tour today.

* Traynere has sent over a dozen mailers during the campaign. She’s raised over $130K, I’m told, mostly in small contributions.

Several of her mailers are about Claar’s support for Trump in a town which went overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton (click here for one example). Those mailers are designed, I’m told, to catch the interest of voters so that they can move on to other issues, particularly the town’s huge debt (click here for one example).

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Rocky Rosi - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    This trend will play out in the 2018 IL Gov. race. Anyone that helped or spoke in favor of Trump/GOP will have a hard time winning in a Blue state.

  2. - Fax Machine - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    Is Claar attacking her as a Madigan puppet?

  3. - Flip357 - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    This could be an interesting test case for the Trump effect in 2018. However, Bosman’s stunt might backfire here. Leave tracking to 21-year-old college interns.

  4. - Bothanspy - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 12:34 pm:

    Claar went over the top here in Bolingbrook. I worked with him lot in my former life as a state employee. He’s a nice guy, but the blind support for Trump was just too much to take and one of the few Reublicans I vote for is losing my vote. His continued defense of his support and his inability to answer policy questions without deflection or strawmen arguments is troubling. I agree with Rocky, that 2018 is going to be a slew of campaign mailers with one-liner sound bites either backing Trump or failing to condemn him.

  5. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    - Rocky Rosi - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    I disagree. Many people split their tickets.

    I am an independent and will vote for the Democratic candidate for governor but vote for Republicans too.

  6. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    Claar has had this coming for a looooong time - and not for hosting a fundraiser either.

  7. - Former DuPage Mayor - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 12:56 pm:

    Shame on the Democratic Party for making a non partisan municipal election partisan. Yes Mayor Claar as a Republican is involved in County, State and Nstional elections but he is a non-partisan Mayor in Bolingbrook doing what is best for Bolingbrook, not any party. The State and National governments are a good example of what partisan politics provide - chaos. We don’t want that in local government. Boling ngbrook will retain the person who has made Bolingbrook the wonderful and nationally recognized city it is - Mayor Roger Claar.

  8. - Aldyth - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    My late father was Roger’s campaign treasurer many years ago. Dinner time conversation got to be very interesting at our house. And not in a good way.

  9. - cgo75 - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 1:04 pm:

    I agree with you Rocky. I’m a Republican and I predict that more will vote Democratic in the coming year than ever before. I think the GOP is in serious trouble.

  10. - NorthsideNoMore - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    Take a Look at the BOE filings, it appears she is getting funding from SEIU, Bill Foster and Bernie Sanders and a few other heavy hitters ( one individual to the tune of $6500 = 5%, not a bunch of small contributors. Soft money has not been reported yet but you can bet its going to reflect more of the same all those negative mailers are costly and she has a paid staff and walkers too. You can’t run a race with constant negative campaign pieces like that on $130K.

  11. - Texas Red - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 1:38 pm:

    Because of Trump !

  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===Shame on the Democratic Party for making a non partisan municipal election partisan.===

    I guess you missed the whole…

    … Aurora Mayoral Primary.


  13. - AlfondoGonz - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    Anyone who did anything to promote the candidacy of Donald Trump should be ashamed of themselves.

  14. - Lech W - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    Same strory different party. But that is where the difference shows. In this case the candidate is backed by union money, the GOPers are backed by Proft or Rauner. The focus here is much stronger on the latter rather than the former. Any quick search of her D-2 shows the union money and not In what I would call small amounts !

  15. - Bob Cobb - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 2:08 pm:

    Trump is just an excuse for this race, albeit a good one. Roger earned this challenge by being petulant and exploiting his position for his own gain.

  16. - NorthsideNoMore - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 2:10 pm:

    ===Lech W=== Im just guessing but Claar aint getting $dough$ from Rauner or Proft, might be wrong, but would be surprised if it were true. He is a moderate repub.

  17. - A guy - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 2:12 pm:

    Roger’s an old school dinosaur. Yet, if you’re a longtime Bolingbrook resident, there’s a before/after Roger scenario to review. He’s brought in a lot of business. He’s changed the perception of the town. The trash is picked up on time, the streets are plowed and in excellent shape. He’s a regular at every HS football and basketball game. He’s paranoid about making certain resident issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently. He’s generous to every organization in town. He promotes every organization in town. He’s never been secretive about his GOP leanings (on the contrary, he’s somewhat obnoxious about it).

    He shares the wealth and the pie and makes sure it gets spread around. An Egotist? Oh yeah. Loves his own voice? More than anyone. Acts like a big shot? Yep, right out of Central Casting.

    A Mayor who takes care of his town? Better than just about anyone else and legendary for it. Heck, just ask him.

    Locals vote for guys like him. He’s their guy.

  18. - Small Town Guy - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 2:22 pm:

    Watching this race it has been turned into the carpetbagger vs the long term mayor. This is a local, non-partisan race that has turned into a microcosm of what to expect in ‘18. Fortunately for the Mayor he has a loyal following. This loyal following are charged up because of the outside influences that have nothing to do with the happenings of Bolingbrook.

  19. - Memo From Turner - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 2:30 pm:

    Can anyone explain why a mayor of a city of 73K had 500K in his committee?

  20. - Bob Cobb - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    Memo from Turner, in case your question wasn’t rhetorical…

  21. - A guy - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 3:20 pm:

    I was going to say, $500K sounds a little low to me. He’s had far more in the past. He has used it to very generously support every organization in the community over decades. Even many of the people who don’t like him..want him to be their mayor. That town is truly a Tale of Two Cities between before Roger and now.

  22. - BucktownDem - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 4:55 pm:

    To those besmirching Jackie’s fundraising, check out

    Name one other candidate in Illinois that has raised over $24,000 from grassroots supporters (767 at last count) for any office, let alone a suburban municipal race.

    She’s got grassroots support from Bolingbrook residents and folks across Illinois. That’s a good thing, especially when compared to Mayor Claar’s clouted fundraising from village contractors.

  23. - walker - Friday, Mar 31, 17 @ 5:26 pm:

    The energy behind Traynor’s race is not unions, but from the whole wave of newly active women’s groups, anti-political-establishment millennials, and Trump resistors. She has a lot of truly grassroots support in terms of boots on the ground. This race is more a test of the new grassroots activism on the left, than it is a regular contest of Dems v GOP.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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