Thursday, March 13, 2014

More on the value of countywide slating: All politics is local

In theory, when the Cook County Democratic Party announces a slate, each of the 50 ward organizations and 30 township organizations unite behind the ticket and work for all the candidates.

That's the theory.

The reality -- as the late Tip O'Neill said -- is that all politics are local.

Some wards and townships cherish their independence and reserve their right to decide who they will endorse regardless of decisions made at the Hotel Allegro. Some committeemen may have social or business relationships with particular candidates that lead them to break with the slate and support those candidates over the officially slated ones. One can formulate as many reasons why committeemen break with the slate over this candidate or that one as there are committeemen -- and candidates.

Some dissent is inevitable -- but, in some cases, historically, the number of wards or townships 'dumping' a candidate -- leaving him or her off their palm cards and out of their mailings -- has reached a critical mass, propelling a non-slated candidate to victory. I'm not interested in enforcing party discipline -- the Cook County Democratic Party can watch out for itself -- but I am interested in looking for trends, if trends there be.

Recently, I asked for readers to provide me with copies of mailings or other materials circulated by local ward or township organizations. I'm starting to get some responses -- and, foolish me, I should have realized that some of the responses would not be (at least technically) connected with any ward or township organization at all. Take the Soul Slate, for instance:

A couple of readers also pointed me to the "our candidates page" of the 45th Ward Independent Democrats website. The 45th Ward group tracks the official county judicial slate for the most part in the countywide races, and also supports Judge Anthony C. "Tony" Kyriakopoulos for the "A" vacancy in the 10th Subcircuit (the slated candidate). However, the group rejects the officially slated candidates in favor of Justice Shelly A. Harris (who is bidding to hold onto his seat on the Appellate Court) and countywide candidate James Patrick Crawley (Veal vacancy). (Crawley is identified on the site as a member of the 45th Ward Independent Democrats. All politics is local.)

As Tuesday approaches, I hope readers will continue to share information with me about how judicial races are shaping up in their neighborhoods.

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