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Cook County GOP Chairman wants to get rid of partisan elections

Wednesday, Jul 11, 2018

* Illinois Review

It’s just too hard to get Republicans elected in Democrat-dominated Cook County and Chicago, so there’s an effort to throw in the towel and wipe out partisan labels in the county’s elections.

At least that’s what it sounds like Cook County GOP Chairman Sean Morrison is pushing to happen in the state’s largest county - with the help of IL GOP Governor Rauner.

Morrison - who also serves on the Cook County Board as one its few Republicans - is asking for help for a petition drive to “get a binding referendum question on the ballot that would make elections for all Cook County countywide offices non-partisan.”

“This initiative, if we are successful, will have a longstanding impact on our ability to run candidates countywide,” Morrison wrote to the Palos Township GOP Friday.

Indeed. Morrison was unable to get candidates to run in Cook County’s countywide races this time around. Democrats are running unopposed - making the Republican platform and its public policy positions unavailable for Republicans living in the county.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 4:09 am:

    Excellent, Sean. Next up, everyone should close their eyes so no one can see them.

  2. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 4:52 am:

    With trump and Rauner heading up a Republican party that rips children out of their parent’s arms, I get where Sean is coming from in wanting to drop the Republican label.

  3. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 6:49 am:

    “After years of unsanitary conditions and using spoiled ingredients, our restaurant’s name is now synonymous with food poisoning. Our reputation can’t possibly recover. I guess we’ll have to get out of the business of selling food to customers…”

    “Or — and this might sound a little crazy — we could have the rules changed so that all the names are stripped off of all the restaurants. That way nobody will be able to tell that it’s us.”


    – MrJM

  4. - Michael Westen - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 7:38 am:

    Yeah that’ll pass.

  5. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 7:38 am:

    Yeah, double blind elections.

  6. - Latvia - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 7:50 am:

    Cook County is the epitome of well run government! Why change anything.

  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 8:00 am:


    Sean Morrison, idea man. Workhorse, not so much.

    I think Sean Morrison couldn’t muster the energy to find one single person (including himself) in a congressional district of more than 700K people to challenge the Nazi who ended up winning the GOP primary.

    The Lipinskis never had any problem getting candidates on the GOP ballot.

    So, Sean Morrison, as Cook County GOP chair and 3rd District state committeeman:

  8. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 8:02 am:

    I think there’s a compelling argument to be made that the Governor is neither Republican or Democrat. I also think he sees his wealth, and what it enables him to do, as far more relevant than his party affiliation.

  9. - allknowingmasterofraccoondom - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 8:27 am:

    Good luck with that.

  10. - I Miss Bentohs - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 8:34 am:

    This is a bad idea in that the guy that hates Chicago (and all of Illinois) is funding an effort in a biased way. However, the idea of local politics not having a partisan label on the ballot is actually a positive thing I have learned and I will give you two words on how I learned that:

    On the local level you need to get things done for the people and for some odd reason, when you minimize those R and D labels, it works better on the local level. Tom got things done because he understood this and I always knew he was doing it right because the strong D’s always called him a damn Republican and the strong R’s always called him a damn Democrat.

    But, alas, I cannot see this working in Chicago/Cook. It is more like a State then a Local.

    As an aside, I sure miss Tom. He was a good friend and a great person.

  11. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 8:37 am:

    Judicial elections should be nonpartisan

  12. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 8:47 am:

    As a Democrat living in Sangamon County, I think this is a fine idea that should be tried here. LOL

  13. - Robert Lincoln - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:11 am:

    Isn’t their a process where the party can get people on the ballot when no one attempted to pass petitions?

  14. - Sox Fan - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:25 am:

    I can understand where Morrison is coming from, there’s a good chance his party gets wiped out in the next two elections. But,does Rauner support this Statewide? Or just in the county he has no chance of winning?

  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:26 am:

    I’m a bit shocked at how dismissive everyone is of this idea. I would love to see nonpartisan county elections. I’d also like to see them held the same time as other local elections. Granted I say this as a member of a party in a county dominated by the other party and therefore don’t have much of a voice in county level elections. Honestly, I’d love to see a whole host of electoral reforms:
    -non partisan county level elections held at the same time as other local elections
    -ranked choice voting
    -listing only candidate name and not party on the ballot (you could still have primaries and 3rd parties. And this might be a half-baked idea but with increasing partisan tribalism this may help.)
    -non partisan judicial elections. Or better yet: judicial appointments via nonpartisan commissions paired with retention elections (I believe Sandra Day O’Connor Kent her name to a plan like this to reform the selection of judges)

  16. - Arock - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:30 am:

    If you need to see a R or D by someone’s name to vote for them then you haven’t done your homework and should probably pass on voting for that position. You don’t have to fill out everything on your ballot, you should just vote for people and issues you have knowledge about.

  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:30 am:

    The Republicans are folding up the tent, walking away, and trying to paint a smiley face on the void they left behind.

    Can’t they find a message and candidates that are worth fighting for? Apparently not.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:33 am:

    The Raunerite Party has made the GOP beyond its “normal, lazy, irrelevancy” that existed before Rauner bought the brand

    This is the part where Rauner, after buying and milking his purchase, breaks up the product, and the name and brand evaporates.

    So… no surprise.

    Very sad, but no surprise.

  19. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:34 am:

    Wouldn’t it be easier for Morrison to change his party, and change his name to Mark Fairchild and run as a D?

  20. - ChrisB - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:35 am:

    Has anyone here ever pulled an R ballot in Cook? It’s a joke. Judges are nonexistent, most races are unopposed or blank.

    Yeah, it’s a failure of the county GOP to recruit people, but printing a full ballot of empty races is a waste.

  21. - Not It - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:40 am:

    How about instead of getting rid of the unpopular partisan label, you stop making the partisan label unpopular?

  22. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:44 am:

    Hey guys, we can’t get anyone elected, so let’s change the rules.

    It’s bad enough that Republicans suppress votes with ID laws and other challenges to qualified electors in red states so they don’t lose dominance. Now they want to change the rules in blue areas to give them a fighting chance? I think not.

  23. - TrumpsSmallHands - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:50 am:

    How exactly would a binding referendum question on this topic work?

    A non-binding question would be possible to get on the ballot, but wouldn’t this question be outside of what is permissible under the “structural and procedural subjects” limitation in Article XIV of the state Constitution?

  24. - Blue Bayou - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:52 am:

    GOP: We can’t win, so let’s cheat.

  25. - Anonish - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:56 am:

    Can’t find players, let alone win under the current rules so it makes sense he wants to change them.
    Be careful of those unintended consequences, may find yourself with a competitive challenge there Sean.

  26. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:00 am:

    The point of being a member of a party is that you share some basic philosophies. People running for office from the party are also supposed to share those philosophies. This means the voters have a sense of where the candidate stands and does not have to research every tom, dick and harriet before the election. Eliminating the party on the ballot is a terrible idea. It’s just a way to ensure that voters are even more ignorant of the choices they are making than they already are.

  27. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:03 am:

    I don’t know why my comment was formatted so weirdly. Try again “The point of being a member of a party
    is that you share some basic philosophies. People running for office from the party are

    also supposed to share those philosophies. This means the voters have a sense of where the

    candidate stands and do not have to research every tom, dick and harriet before the
    Eliminating the party on the ballot is a terrible idea.

    It’s just a way to ensure that voters are even more ignorant of the choices they are making than they already are.

  28. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:06 am:

    Here’s a better idea, Mr. GOP macher in Cook County and the 3rd Congressional district:

    Next time, why don’t you hustle to find one breathing adult in a congressional district of more than 700K people to challenge the Nazi in the GOP primary?

    The Lipinskis never had a problem finding candidates for the GOP primary.

    As Cook County GOP chair and 3rd District state committeeman, isn’t that your job, to at least keep Nazis from going unchallenged in GOP primaries?

    If you can’t get over that very low bar….

  29. - don the legend - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:13 am:

    I support political party affiliations for legislative positions. But for administrative positions like Recorder of Deeds, Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Auditor it doesn’t make sense.

    Is there a democratic or republican philosophy to record a mortgage?

  30. - TaylorvilleTornado - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    Just do what Vrdolyak did and pretend to be Democrat.

  31. - walker - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    Wonder what Tim Schneider, Cook Co Commissioner, and Chair of the Illinois GOP, thinks about this idea.

  32. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:31 am:

    =I’m a bit shocked at how dismissive everyone is of this idea.=

    I am not shocked you feel that way.

    I wonder why no one in the many downstate counties where there is no ILDP presence ever proposed this concept? /s

  33. - JoanP - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:58 am:

    What’s the point? In Chicago, the mayoral and aldermanic elections are “non-partisan”. In a pig’s eye.

  34. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 11:01 am:

    Not going to propose a simultaneous test run of this idea in Effingham county? Hmmm…

  35. - Roman - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 11:05 am:

    == The Lipinskis never had a problem finding candidates for the GOP primary ==

    Well played, Word.

    The GOP county board members in Cook have always benefited from their seats being contested during midterm elections, when Dem turnout in the ‘burbs is down. If this year’s partisan turnout percentages are more closely aligned with what we see in presidential elections, all of the GOP county board members will be in for a fight.

  36. - Travel Guy - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    The Republican Party motto should really be… win to cheat; cheat to win.

  37. - anon2 - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 11:50 am:

    So Morrison wants the County of Cook to emulate the City of Chicago, which has nonpartisan elections. How well has that worked out for the GOP in the City?

  38. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 11:57 am:

    “Kobayashi Maru” (Star Trek reference) comes to mind. If you can’t beat a no-win scenario, change the rules.

  39. - Levois - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 1:24 pm:

    I’d be more in favor of a “jungle primary” than just having non-partisan elections in Cook. Question is will this result in the election of minority parties?

  40. - I Miss Bentohs - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 1:41 pm:

    I don’t know why my comment was formatted so weirdly …

    Good question. The whole page, including the story,
    is off but it was not like that earlier today.
    And I do not see this on the other postings. Odd

  41. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 1:48 pm:

    Hope it works out as well as California for the GOP!

  42. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    “I don’t know why my comment was formatted so weirdly …”

    It appears that when someone posts a single unit of text — a word or url — that is larger than about 70 characters, the formatting of the post’s frame changes to fit the obnoxiously long word or url.

    In this case it appears to be the run-on ‘HAHAHA’ etc.

    – MrJM

  43. - James - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    =In Chicago, the mayoral and aldermanic elections are “non-partisan”=

    Chicago changed to nonpartisan elections with a runoff if necessary, I believe in 1995, as an election code change that was a delayed response to Harold Washington winning the 1983 Democratic primary over incumbent Mayor Byrne and future Mayor R. M. Daley, with all 3 of them in the 30%+ vote total range. The previous primary system denied Byrne a 1983 runoff opportunity that many thought she would have won.

  44. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 4:58 pm:

    Isn’t this the guy who wrote an endorsement letter on behalf of a child stalker?

  45. - BC - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 4:59 pm:

    - James -

    Yes, the nonpartisan runoff format has only existed in mayoral contests since the 1999 election (thanks to a law that was passed by the GOP controlled General Assembly and signed by Edgar in 1995.) But Chicago aldermen have run in that format since early last century — the result of a progressive “reform” measure that unintentionally helped elevate the role of ward committeeman in the patronage system.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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