Monday, December 23, 2013

Del Mar on Cook County GOP endorsements

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Del Mar on Cook County GOP endorsements

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Cook County Republican Party! Best wishes for a Happy New Year filled with health, happiness, and spectacular success.

We've got some exciting news to share with you as the holidays are just a day away.

Cook County Endorsements:

The Cook County Republican Party announced on Saturday their endorsements for the 2014 Primary Election.

Businessman Bruce Rauner was endorsed over his three opponents for Illinois Governor. Also endorsed were Judy Baar Topinka, Paul Schimpf, and Mike Webster, unopposed Republican candidates for Illinois Comptroller, Attorney General, and Secretary of State. No endorsements were made in the races for Illinois Treasurer and U.S. Senate as Tom Cross and Doug Truax won their respective votes but did not reach the 60% threshold required for an endorsement.

"For the first time in recent memory, Republicans in the largest county in Illinois have a strong, public voice in the Republican Primary process," proclaimed Chairman Aaron Del Mar. "For too long Cook County has been considered Democrat territory, yet there are more Republicans here than in any other county in Illinois. It¹s time their voice was heard loud and clear. This is why we held this endorsement process. The Republican Party in Cook County is growing stronger every day and we will ensure the election of a Republican Governor in 2014."

Ballots were cast by Republican Committeemen on behalf of their wards and townships. Votes were weighted based on the number of Republicans who voted in that township or ward in the 2012 Republican Primary. Committeemen were provided paper ballots containing unique barcodes and a pre-stamped envelope for them to mail in their vote. Committeemen were also provided a unique ID so that they could vote online if they chose. The deadline for both paper and online ballots was Wednesday, December 18th. Votes were tabulated starting at 8am on December 21st. All Republican Committeemen were invited to attend the tabulation to ensure an open and fair process. Certifying the results were Committeemen Garber, Gorman, Morrison, Smith and Yokoyama. The entire process was video taped to further ensure accuracy and transparency.

Official Results:

Bruce Rauner 63.38%
Kirk Dillard 10.18%
Dan Rutherford 5.94%
Bill Brady 0%

US Senate
Doug Truax 38.76%
Jim Oberweis 34.31%
Armen Alvarez 0.26%
William Lee 0.05%

Tom Cross 49.26%
Bob Grogan 31.19%

Judy Baar Topinka 67.81%

Attorney General
Paul Schimpf 70.03%

Secretary of State
Mike Webster 67.48%

Committeemen Support Program Q4 Report Card Released:

The third installment of the Committeemen Support Program scorecard was released today by the Cook County Republican Party. The Scorecard covers the 4th Quarter of 2013.
"We are pleased to see that many of our townships are maintaining their excellent scores while several others have improved their scores," said Cook County Republican Party Chairman Aaron Del Mar. "Many of the benchmarks used to determine grades are ongoing responsibilities, so the fact that so many townships maintained their high grades means that the Cook County Republican Party has regular activity and sustained growth as we move into campaign season."

Enrolled organizations receive an initial stipend and are eligible for further funding through the program. The funding each organization receives is directly tied to their score on the Scorecard. The Party projects that over $50,000 will be provided to Cook County Republican organizations this election cycle through the Committeemen Support Program, the first of its kind.

"We will continue to work to support our Committeemen and their organizations so that we will have the ground game necessary to win in November. We must elect a Republican Governor in 2014 so we can finally return our once great state to prosperity, and to do that we will need to increase our Republican vote totals in Cook County. We are well on our way to achieving this important goal," explained Chairman Del Mar.

The next scorecard will be completed on March 15th and released to the public on March 17th. A copy of the scorecard is included with this release. To learn more about the Cook County Republican Party, visit

Cook County Republican Party

Southwest Airlines is so much less than what it promised

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Southwest Airlines is so much less than what it promised
By Ray Hanania

Flying on an airplane used to be fun. But these days, it’s changed. And it’s not just because of Sept. 11. It has more to do with greed.

Southwest Airlines is a good example. Cited 10 times by Fortune Magazine for its financial management, it knows little about how to treat customers.

Southwest Airlines began in Texas in 1967 as Air Southwest and changed its name in 1971. It has always portrayed itself as the “little guy” in the airline business, promising the highest service and the lowest cost.

Like all of the airlines, Southwest Airlines saves money by nickel and diming its passengers, offering the lowest fares by treating passengers like cows. But Southwest Airlines has taken it all one step further.

They don’t assign seats when you buy your ticket. That’s too civilized for cows. Instead, you line up based on whether you pay them extra money. Some people might call that bribing the company to give you a better place in line.

You get seats in one of two ways. You are assigned a “boarding position” when you register for your flight online at least 24 hours before your flight.

Or, you can pay the airline $15 per passenger to have them assign you a “boarding position” 36 hours before the flight in boarding positions 1 through 60.

But 40 minutes before the flight, Southwest Airline sells the first spots in line to passengers who are willing to pay $40 more.

Worse, is that no one really checks to see if people are being honest. The boarding steward doesn’t care. He just checks you in. So many people simple get in the line even ahead of their real assigned number.

You can see how all that ala carte spending starts to add up.

It’s uncivilized, which is what Southwest Airlines should use in its motto. “We’re the uncivilized airline, but we’re rich” rather than their worthless motto which now laughingly proclaims, “Doing the Right Thing.”

What does that mean anyway? The “right thing” for who? Not the passengers.

When you pay $15 to “early register” for the flight, don’t you think that means getting a seat assigned. No. It means getting in a pecking order on where you stand in line trying to get a seat.

The steward jokingly urges passengers to pay the extra $40 per person “to sit with your significant other,” meaning the chances of a family sitting together are probably only 30 percent. Those are bad odds.

The uncivilized way they assign seats is only the beginning. The seats themselves are the most cramped of any airline. In fact, when you get into your seat, somewhere at the back of the plane after paying a fortune, the fold-out tray opens and touches your stomach. It has a sliding feature, but it has no room to slide on normal people.

They are constantly also trying to “balance” their airline wait, asking passengers to take a later flight for a flight coupon. That tells me they constantly overbook.

Maybe they should call Southwest Airlines “Sardine Airlines.” At least you will know what you are paying for.

I liked the old days when airlines treated people with respect. You got what you paid for. Now, they want to take your money and give you what they want.

There was a time when people meant something. These days, we’re just Sherpas for someone else’s profits.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at Or follow him on Twitter @RayHanania.)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rauner victory in Cook County gives him the “Big Mo” moving into March GOP Primary battle

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Rauner victory in Cook County gives him the “Big Mo” moving into March GOP Primary battle

Gorman gives Rauner the “Big Mo” in Republican battle for governor

The media is focused on what they say is the “big story,” that the Cook County Republicans finally rallied behind a candidate for governor for the first time in anyone’s memory.

The Cook County GOP overwhelming backed wealthy Winnetka businessman Bruce Rauner for Governor in the Republican Primary on March 18, 2014.

But the real story may be about Rauner himself and a critical error on the part of Kirk Dillard, a great candidate who might have become governor four years ago had he been able to defeat Bill Brady, who went on to lose to Pat Quinn.

Rauner may be new to politics, an independently wealthy businessman who has committed his resources to this race. But he showed that he probably knows more about Illinois politics than the so-called veterans like Dillard and even Dan Rutherford.

In seeking to win the backing of the Cook County Republicans, and thus giving himself a public relations victory – perception has a lot to do with victory in Illinois – Rauner was smart enough to approach Cook County Commissioner and Orland Township GOP Committeeman Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman for her support.

It was a strategic move considering that Cook County represents 21 percent of the Republican vote in Illinois. In the 2010 GOP Primary, more than 765,000 Republicans voted with 162,000 of them casting ballots in Cook County.

It was a fatal mistake on Dillard’s part to turn to the North Side Republican extremists for support and not go to Gorman, who backed Dillard so many times in the past.

The Cook County GOP has not endorsed a candidate for governor in years. They didn’t endorse Big Jim Thompson, one of the state’s most successful and popular governors. And they didn’t endorse Mr. Politics himself, George Ryan who threw poor political alliances and choices sent himself to prison for six years on corruption charges, only to be released this year.

But in the battle to defeat Gov. Pat Quinn, whose popularity has soared on the backs of several key issues from his marksmen-like play to push for pension reform and his undying support for Illinois’ military veterans, you have to be especially smart.

Rauner, apparently, is the only one who apparently is thinking ahead.

Dillard had the support of Ruth O’Connell from Wheeling, a well known foe of Gorman and a foe of the equally popular Illinois Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka. Dillard put all his eggs in O’Connell’s basket and watched as they all cracked wide open, winning a mere 10.2 percent of the Republican vote at the Cook County GOP meeting.

Rutherford, the Illinois Treasurer who is an amiably and as capable candidate like Dillard, also made a critical mistake by not approaching Gorman for her support. He won 5 percent of the Cook County vote.

Both Dillard and Rutherford made a critical mistake, but more so Dillard. Rauner, with Gorman’s backing and the backing of Committeeman Sean Morrison, won a whopping 63.3 percent of the vote.

It was unprecedented, but may give us a peek into the course of the Republican primary battle in the coming months.

Bill Brady, by the way, who won the Republican primary for governor four years ago, got nothing in Cook County. Brady got “zero” voter support in Cook County, which is the second biggest story to come out of the party leadership vote.

You could only imagine that had Dillard turned to Gorman in Cook County, he not only would have won the Cook County endorsement and would be riding high on the wave of publicity that Rauner is now enjoying. But he would probably have taken the party nomination this time around.

Dillard has always had appeal to moderate Democrats, in much the same way as the late President Ronald Reagan. Many Democrats in Chicagoland, especially in the Southwest region, viewed themselves as “Reagan Democrats.” They voted Democratic locally but Republican nationally. Some of that Republican inclination also helped Republicans win in local regional races in the legislature, too.

But we’ll never probably know, though. Gorman has proven to be one of Illinois’ most popular Republicans over the years because of her fierce allegiance to taxpayers. And Rauner won her support simply by showing respect.

It’s something Rauner will be able to use to empower his campaign, probably giving It a burst of momentum that might be tough to stop as we round the corner to the primary in the next few months.

That’s not to say that Quinn will be an easy candidate to defeat. For Quinn, Rauner’s “Big Mo” might help him keep the conservative Democrats from jumping ship for someone like Dillard. That won’t happen now and Quinn can count on conservative Democrats to stand with the party in March and for sure in November.

But Rauner winning Gorman’s backing might still give him an opportunity to carve out a strategy to appeal to Cook County voters who in every election have backed Gorman in landslide turnouts.

Gorman and Morrison have become the key Republican leaders in Cook County. You have to wonder about any Illinois politician who couldn’t see that a mile away, or who thought there is a better strategy in some nook and cranny up in northern Cook County.

Cook County Party Chairman Aaron Del Mar, who is a close Gorman ally, told the media his plan is to change the party and have them back the strongest candidates, rather than keep playing inside favorites. Del Mar noted this is the first time Cook County Republicans have stood up to become major players in a statewide race.

Gorman is also backing Jim Oberweiss in the U.S. Senate battle, a tough uphill fight against incumbent U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.

Rauner’s strong campaign war chest will only benefit all of the Republican candidates running in Illinois. He’s come out swinging with a battery of campaign commercials that have defined him as a moderate Republican and successful businessman in a state, he says, needs business smarts.