Letter to the Editor: Local GOP Mishandles Turelli Replacement
Reader challenges method of replacing a candidate who drops out of a race after the primary.
I was very disappointed to read about the GOP mishandling of the recent appointment of a candidate to fill the vacancy for the Illinois State Representative, District 58th position. I have read what has been written about the appointment/selection process to replace Lauren Turelli and have come to realize that a) all politics is local and b) some things in the local Republican party will never change as long as there are those in our party who would rather 'go along to get along' instead of standing up for principle. Can anyone say 'Blago?'
First, all politics is local...when Ms. Turelli chose to drop out of the race, the local party leaders conducted closed door meetings to select a candidate to run for the open position. Dr. Mark Neerhof, who ran against Ms. Turelli in the March GOP Primary, and who was narrowly defeated, is an upstanding professional who clearly articulated his views and positions on key issues in open and public venues including: League of Women Voter Forums, Meet and Greets, Door to Door canvassing, among other venues. Bottom line: Dr. Neerhof has been vetted by the voters. We know who Dr. Neerhof is and what his positions are on the issues.
The local party leadership chose to disregard the Primary results and hand pick their own candidate who, by the way, was Ms. Turelli's campaign manager. The local party says they did this in the best interest of the district, but the district already spoke and they chose Dr. Neerhof in March. The party has hand picked someone who now has to introduce himself to the district and November is only 4 months away. Selecting a candidate's campaign manager to replace the candidate seems a bit unethical, but then again, this is politics and this is Illinois.
Which leads me to my next point...some things in the local party will never change. I am all too familiar with how the party tries to overrun a qualified candidate. It seems, in the local GOP, that good candidates must first run against the party in order to get on the ballot--I've seen this first hand in the past and, now again, in the District 58th State Representative race. Why is that? Does the Party not like a candidate who stands up for principle? Does the Party prefer a candidate who is malleable? I guess this is how things work and we are all supposed to just pull the lever for the GOP because the lever says GOP on it. Or, should we?
Dr. Neerhof ran a race where he welcomed questions and answered every single one of them--including calling voters, at their request, when they had a question or wanted to know more about him and his position on the issues. This is what I want in my representative and candidate; someone unafraid to meet with and talk with voters and answer the hard questions. Someone willing to walk the precincts and personally meet with voters. Someone who is not afraid to fight for fiscally responsible and morally responsible government. My guess is most voters in our district want this, too, in their candidate and that is why so many voters favored Dr. Neerhof in March. I'd also guess that most voters would not approve of what the local GOP party has done to exclude Dr. Neerhof from having the chance to represent us. Can anyone say 'write in' candidate?
Aimee M.Lake Forest, Illinois