* From one of Dan Proft’s papers a few days ago…
Sources have told Prairie State Wire that Bob Winchester has retained counsel to challenge the voting procedures used in his race for Republican State Central Committee in the 15th Congressional District, which the Illinois Republican Party claims was won by Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet).
The first step in the legal action is expected to be an appeal to the Illinois State Board of Elections, which under law, must certify the votes in party elections. Among other charges, Winchester is expected to challenge the use of votes by acclamation in some counties — a move that gives the candidate with more than half of the votes the entire final tally, which violates party rules and may violate state law. […]
“Just because the party said Chapin won doesn’t mean he won,” [Mark Shaw, Lake County Republican chairman and central committeeman in the 10th Congressional District] said. “Until May 19, there is no party governing board, and Chaplin can’t just show up on that day and act like he’s a committeeman. The results have to be certified first, and I expect the board will find a lot of irregularities in the voting process.” […]
Results of the election show that Winchester received zero votes in nine of 33 counties, including four of the 10 most populated, a result that Shaw and others said would be impossible. […]
In all, 22 of 33 counties voted by acclamation, representing 63 percent of Rose’s vote and 59 percent of Winchester’s.
* Politico today…
Why is this all significant? The outcome of the 15th district race could determine the next statewide chairman and likely the direction of a party that nearly threw out its incumbent governor in March. Enter the newly-elected Republican State Central Committeemen, who are to meet May 19th to vote on the next chairman. Each of the votes is weighted. The district with the greatest weighted vote? The one under dispute in the 15th. While Rose supports Schneider, Winchester had pledged his support to challenger Mark Shaw, who is Lake County’s GOP Chairman. GOP sources tell us that the unofficial breakdown is pretty closely divided between Schneider and Shaw, making the 15th district outcome all that more impactful.
Disunity: If Schneider cannot hold onto power, that’s a direct reflection on Rauner’s weakened grasp of his his party. That’s a particularly stinging rebuke since Rauner has almost single-handedly funded the Illinois Republican Party apparatus. Even if Schneider wins another term, this latest turmoil only shows there’s a long road to repairing the rift in the party.
* As it stands now, the opposition believes incumbent chairman Schneider has a 51.5-48.5 lead over Lake County’s Shaw if Sen. Rose is declared the victor and former party chairman Jack Dorgan votes for Schneider as well (and that’ll be an interesting moment if Rauner’s chairman is saved by a - gasp - Statehouse lobbyist).
But Rose’s district appears to have enough weighted votes that Shaw will likely beat Schneider if Winchester is seated (barring any flippers).
Winchester is being represented by a lawyer at Tony Peraica’s law firm. His letter to the state party is here. The attorney’s letter to the Illinois State Board of Elections is here.