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*** UPDATED x1 *** Some Republican diversity emerges at county level

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* DuPage County Republicans elected their first ever woman chair yesterday

Darlene Ruscitti made DuPage County GOP history on Wednesday night by becoming its first female leader.

Nearly 300 Republican precinct committeemen broke out in applause after electing Ruscitti to the role of DuPage GOP chairman during their biennial county convention in Wheaton. Ruscitti was nominated by the only person expected to challenge her for the position — Naperville Township GOP chairman Rachel Ossyra.

“It’s an honor to be your new chairman,” Ruscitti told the crowd of party faithful. “I’m really humbled by this all, and I’m really proud to be a Republican.” […]

She replaced state Rep. Randy Ramey, who last month announced that he wasn’t going to try to keep the party chairman post because of a possible government appointment.

That’s a long way from the days of Pate Philip.

Ruscitti, the DuPage County Superintendent of Education, has quickly moved up the party ranks ever since she dropped out of a congressional primary to make way for incumbent Joe Walsh.

* Champaign County Republicans elected Lebanese immigrant Habeeb Habeeb

Habeeb, a partner in Benefit Planning Consultants Inc. in Champaign, arrived in the United States in 1973 at the age of 17 to attend Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee.

“I wanted to be a doctor and go back. I didn’t intend to stay here,” he said. “And 16 months afterward a civil war started in Lebanon. I didn’t know where my parents were. I didn’t have a penny, and I was stuck here.

“I started working at Arby’s for a buck-65 an hour. I’m like the great American success story. I didn’t know any different. Failure was not an option. I had no choice. I cleaned bathrooms. I did dishes. And I was happy doing it because it was better than the alternative. They were fighting over there.”

He met his future wife, Joy, at Olivet, and continued to work for Arby’s. The couple moved to Champaign in 1985, he earned an MBA at Eastern Illinois University and they had two children, one of whom has graduated from the University of Illinois and the other is attending Illinois. Habeeb became a United States citizen around 1990, he said.

* And the Cook County Republicans elected Philippine-American Aaron Del Mar, who is the first ever minority to get that position. As usual with the Cook Republicans, there was also plenty of political intrigue

Del Maar had the backing of Sig Vaznelis, the Cook County Republican chair who announced last month he wouldn’t seek another term due to the demands of his civil engineering business.

A political turf war between Republicans from the north end of Cook County and those from the south helped drive this race, as well as the earlier primary battle for Cook County Board of Review commissioner between Wheeling resident Dan Patlak and South suburban resident Sean Morrison, a race Patlak ultimately won.

While Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman of Orland Park fiercely plugged Morrison, New Trier Township Committeeman Bill Cadigan and other North suburban Cook County GOP committeemen supported Patlak. Cadigan was removed from his post by Vaznelis, who is aligned with Gorman, and therefore stripped of his voting powers in the election for chair.

New Trier township, because of its heavy number of Republicans, is one of the most influential townships. Cadigan said Wednesday he believed Vaznelis saw him as a threat as a potential chair.

Illinois Review has run this photo of Del Mar with Hillary Clinton more than once…

Del Mar’s response

The picture above was taken prior to 2003. When I was not politically involved at all and was just taking a picture with a US Senator, I was 25 at the time.

*** UPDATE *** Kane County also elected its first Republican chairperson, which resulted in some hurt feelings

Members of the Kane GOP elected Barb Wojnicki of Campton Township as their new chairman Wednesday night — and the first woman to lead the county party.

Wojnicki’s victory also marks a personal breakthrough for her: In her 14 years on the Kane County Board, she’d often been overlooked for leadership roles despite her knowledge and experience. Now she’s the leader of the party that’s been in charge of the county for the last century.

“I just think people were looking for new energy, new spirit,” Wojnicki said. “I know no one can do this job alone. But I think the people of the party were just ready for something new.”

[Chairman Mike Kenyon], of South Elgin, withdrew his candidacy just before the voting for chairman began. In doing so, he publicly called for party unity.

But after the speech and the applause, Kenyon called the outcome the result of a political coup. Wojnicki ran on a slate of candidates that swept the voting Wednesday night.

posted by Rich Miller
Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 9:20 am





    Comment by Oswego Willy Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 9:26 am

  2. Quick Question -
    What percentage of female governors in the US are Republican vs. Democrat?

    Would you believe that the Republican party (the one that has a “war against women”) has 4 female governors, while the Democrats only have 1?
    And ironically, the Dems only female governor is leaving office in the fall - due to ethical lapses.
    And with Team Obama now trying to bolster their campaign with more “african american” workers, because they have so few currently, it seems like the Democrats could use a little diversity self examination.

    Comment by Anonymous Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 9:31 am

  3. I’m not one to typically abet Illinois Review, but Mr. Del Mar claims that that picture was taken “prior to 2003″ and yet it appears he’s taking a picture in front of a bank of Re-Elect Hillary signs like this one.

    Did Hillary Clinton really have a bunch of Re-Elect Hillary campaign signs printed “prior to 2003″ for her 2006 Senate re-election?

    Comment by hisgirlfriday Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 9:52 am

  4. - hisgirlfriday -

    I lookerd at that backdrop, I see the “elect”, don’t see the “re-elect” … are you sure its a “re-elect” back there?

    Asking, not mocking…

    Comment by Oswego Willy Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 9:59 am

  5. The Kane County GOP also elected it’s first female chair.

    Comment by OneMan Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:00 am

  6. Not to mention that the two Indian governors have “R” after their name.

    Comment by Pat Collins Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:02 am

  7. @HisGirlFriday, it is more likely that the Hillary signs are from her first race for US senate in 2002. Candidates typically keep the same graphic for their signs and add the word “re-elect” to future signs. I don’t see the word “re-elect” in the photo in question. I say give the kid a break and take him at his word.

    Comment by Say What? Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:02 am

  8. Interesting fact, 9:31. I’d be curious to see how that also breaks down in the House, Senate, etc.

    As for Del Mar, doesn’t much matter to me if he was 23 or 25 at the time that photo was taken. He was a young guy at the time who hadn’t gotten actively involved in partisan politics yet. Photo still might make for a nice caption contest, however.

    Anything on Berrios’ unanimous election? His record is a bit disconcerting, to put it mildly :/

    Comment by Anonyzmousse Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:04 am

  9. Hillary first ran for senator in 2000, re-elected in 2006. I don’t know where the above photo fits in the time line if Del Mar was 25 at the time.

    Comment by Wensicia Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:05 am

  10. Wow, a picture with Hilary — what a scandal. Just how long is Illinois Review’s litmus test? You’d think they’d be a little more concerned about getting Republicans elected.

    Brady got more votes in Cook County — more than 400,000 — than he did in DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry combined. Yet it was only 28.6% of the county vote.

    Any kind of effective Cook organization, and he’s governor. It’s a game of addition, and that’s where the votes are. The GOP secessionists might want to learn something.

    Comment by wordslinger Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:06 am

  11. @Wensicia

    I mid-keyed the year Hillary was elected to US Senate. You are correct, it was 2000. Say What? regrets the error.

    Comment by Say What? Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:11 am

  12. Del Mar is 33 right now. If he was 25 in the above photo, it was taken shortly before Hillary’s 2006 election.

    hisgirlfriday makes a good point.

    Comment by Wensicia Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:17 am

  13. Kenyon called the outcome the result of a political coup.

    Mike is a nice guy but after so publicly backing Burns against Lauzen in the County Board Chairman’s race and the way Burns lost by 40 points it was obvious it was time for him to go.

    The whole e-mail thing with Burns didn’t help Mike either at all.

    I was going to vote for Wojnicki.

    It was a coup Mike, I think the committemen made it real obvious they felt it was time for a change and if it wasn’t Wojnicki it would have been someone else.

    Comment by OneMan Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:43 am

  14. I mean it wasn’t a coup Mike…

    Comment by OneMan Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:43 am

  15. - wordslinger -

    THe Illinois Review is always there to “help” … unless hurting can do more to ruin it!

    My big question to them all the time is, “So, help me. Why is it bad to find some middle ground and win some GOP seats?” They never have an answer to that, shocking I know.

    Comment by Oswego Willy Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 10:57 am

  16. What appointment is Ramey thinking he might get?

    Comment by Pleading the Fifth Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 11:16 am

  17. @O-Willy / @Say What?

    My suspicion on the “Re-Elect” was piqued by what I thought looked like a hyphen just below Del Mar’s ear.

    So I went to the google and looked at pictures of Hillary’s old campaign signs (because I have issues apparently) and couldn’t find any sign from her 2000 run that had “ELECT” in the corner like that. Hillary kept the same logo in her campaign signs from 2000 to 2008 with just “for U.S. Senate” or “for President” in the upper right corner. The only variation I could find was that “Re-Elect” sign. No “Elect.”

    I’m not a fan of Illinois Review’s purity tests for Republicans, but I am just expressing my skepticism of Del Mar’s honesty that this picture was taken “prior to 2003″.

    And if Del Mar is lying I think Republicans deserve to know that. I didn’t like it when Brad Schneider ran as a Dem in the 10th after sending money to Kirk and other Republicans and I wouldn’t expect Cook County Republicans to be happy that their chairman is/was a Hillary fan.

    Comment by hisgirlfriday Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 11:24 am

  18. Mandrake, I mean Oswego Willy…

    We must maintain our Purity of Essence it is the only path to victory….

    Protect those Precious Bodily Fluids

    Comment by OneMan Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 11:33 am

  19. the EDGorman vs. Cadigan intrigue is fascinating! not bright of the Rs to strip out Cadigan and the New Trier voting block, but that seems typical of the Rs right now….moderates need not apply.

    Comment by amalia Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 11:34 am

  20. Wait, did the Champaign County Republicans just elect Jimmy twotimes? “Get the papers, get the papers”.

    Comment by The Captain Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 12:06 pm

  21. Rich: I can’t find a link to a news story but Gloria Campos was also elected Jackson County Republican Chairman. She is a longtime leader of the GOP Hispanic Coalition.

    Comment by ParkRidge101 Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 1:04 pm

  22. Peoria GOP elected Katherine Coyle serve as their Chair.

    Comment by Jean Luc Picard Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 1:05 pm

  23. ===
    Mandrake, I mean Oswego Willy…

    We must maintain our Purity of Essence it is the only path to victory….

    Protect those Precious Bodily Fluids ===

    And to that, the Dems say …”Scoreboard, Scoreboard!!!”

    Comment by Oswego Willy Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 1:34 pm

  24. - OneMan -

    Mandrake? Yeah, ok … good luck with that too.

    Comment by Oswego Willy Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 1:35 pm

  25. “…‘The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.’ …”


    The IR seems to forget, we ain’t all absolutley the same, but we have mostly the same goals. The Illinois Review’s “Smell Test” is more 100% yes, and zero percent no …

    Maybe Roanld Reagan was wrong and The IR is right? Yeah … that Reagan, and his 80% rule is a bunch of Malarkey!

    Purity! Purity! Purity!

    Comment by Oswego Willy Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 1:45 pm

  26. And I thought “diversity” might mean African-American. What was I thinking, no chance of that.

    Comment by wishbone Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 2:02 pm

  27. - wishbone -

    We had Alan Keyes … after “Jack!” had diversity too …

    Comment by Oswego Willy Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 2:05 pm

  28. Defining diversity of the parties based upon six elected offices would seem to be a statistically irrelevant compared to the percentage of the vote from various diverse groups.

    Comment by D.P. Gumby Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 2:47 pm

  29. ===- OneMan -

    Mandrake? Yeah, ok … good luck with that too.===

    OneMan, Mandrake at least HAD a chance …that is why I wished you luck with that … I sadly feel I have NO chance

    Comment by Anonymous Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 3:53 pm

  30. That was my post above .. sorry

    Comment by Oswego Willy Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 3:54 pm

  31. Should writing in complete sentences be a litmus test also?

    Comment by steve schnorf Thursday, Apr 19, 12 @ 9:46 pm

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