Battle for Secretary of State already brewing in Illinois
Alexi Giannoulias is the lead candidate in the brewing race to succeed Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White who is retiring. Although the Democratic Party Primary election is not until March 2022, time goes by quickly and the race will quickly become crowded. As the Republican Party is pretty much on its deathbed in Illinois, thanks to poor leadership from extremist crackpot like Orland Park’s Keith Pekau, whomever wins the Democratic Primary will be the Secretary of State.
By Ray Hanania
As Secretary of State, Jessie White is one of Illinois’ most popular elected officials.
White doesn’t have to jump in the middle of big political issues and only has to ensure that his office’s critical services that impact so many residents run smoothly and without hassle.
But White has announced his plans to retire after this term in office ends in January 2023. The Democratic primary election will be held next year in March 2022 followed by the General Election in November 2022.
It sounds like it is a long way off, but it’s really not. Any serious candidate has already started to raise funds and is making plans to officially launch this Fall.
After serving as a State Representative from 1975 until 1991, he was elected as Recorder of Deeds in 1992 serving until he was elected Secretary of State in November 1998 taking office on Jan. 11, 1999. In his last election in 2018, White won the office with 3.1 million votes against two not so well-known challengers, and ran unopposed in the Democratic Primaries in 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.
The Secretary of State’s office is one of the most powerful offices in Illinois, when it comes to jobs. It runs vehicle licensing facilities everywhere and those facilities need employees. It’s a powerful job and Democrats have been loyal to him and he has been loyal to Democrats.
Alexi Giannoulias has raised the most to succeed White, more than $2 million. Newly elected Illinois Democratic Party Chairwoman, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, worked for Giannoulias when he served as the Illinois Treasurer, although she said the party is not taking sides – yet.
Other Democrats are considering running including State Senator Michael Hastings, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia , Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, and Ald. Pat Dowell.
You can’t win pandering to narrow voting constituencies. Whomever is going to succeed White needs to appeal to the widest possible audience.
Greek Americans always do well in elections, as well as Irish Americans. In Illinois, race and ethnicity play a significant role in election results, no matter what some claim.
But there is no guarantee for Giannoulias, who wont he office of State Treasurer in 2006 with Barack Obama’s backing, but lost a bid for the U.S. Senate to Republican Mark Kirk in November 2010.
The most important job of the Secretary of State isn’t squaring off between Jews and Arabs over Israel and Palestine, or leading opposition to the appeasement of the Iranian Mullahs.
The Secretary of State’s job is right here in Illinois and while many voting constituencies will condition their support of a candidate’s foreign policy views, the real bread and butter work is in the neighborhoods where access to a drivers license is a top priority.
Who those candidates associate with will have an impact even if the issues are not the priority. They have to be careful not to partner with extremist far left-wing groups that have fueled divisions and anger rather than seek consensus to serve the better interests of voters.
One of the things White did that was very popular was to bring his offices’ services to the communities opening branch offices in areas like Orland Park where extreme rightwing Mayor Keith Pekau did his best to shut White’s offices down in a purely partisan grab for power.
Pekau, who won re-election against the Union-backed Dan McLaughlin, lost his bid to build his own Political Machine in nearly every race he entered in the Southwest Suburbs. One of the key issues was Pekau’s closing of the Secretary of State’s office at Orland Park Village Hall, a service brought in by McLaughlin.. Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady put the vital service at the Township and was attacked viciously by Pekau and his minions.
Under Pekau, Orland Park has gone downhill fast to crime and drugs while the business-base is decimated. There are more empty store sin Orland Park than in most suburban communities and the Orland Mall is “business-non-grata” to many residents who won’t go there because of fear of increasing violence.
Palos Township Truths
Congratulations to Tasneem Abuzir and her slate who defeated opposition from extremists who disrupted Palos Township with ineffective protests, yelling and emotional screaming.
Abuzir’s politics are genuine and she isn’t owned by the protestors and fanatics, most of whom brought their losing political record to the suburbs from Chicago.
The same group that hated on Abuzir were also behind the effort to undermine the election of Congresswoman Marie Newman and also fought hard against Dan Lipinski, whom Newman replaced. The activists know little about winning elections and only have the skills to prevent their Arab American and Muslim communities to undermine themselves.
All you have to do is look at the poor performance of Mervat Mohammad who was slated by the Palos Township screamers solely to undermine Abuzir’s candidacy which was publicly announced nearly a year earlier.
Mohammad got the lowest vote of any candidate running in Palos Township, even trailing behind Sharon Brannigan whom the fanatics viciously slandered for more than four years after twisting and distorting her comments on immigration and border protection. The only reason Brannigan lost was that Robert E. Maloney is a Democrat who enjoyed both Democratic and Republican support.
The screamers and protestors had absolutely nothing to do with Brannigan’s loss although they do live in a world of self-denial with their heads in the sand.
Tasneem Abuzir won 3,368 votes while Mervat Mohammad only won in rush-like spirit 2,236 votes. Mohammad’s vote total was less than the total received by Brannigan in the election. Brannigan received 2,362 votes beating the fanatics and extremists.
Had the Arab community not been split by jealous rivalry and extremist hatred by the fanatics, Abuzir would have probably received the highest vote total of all the trustee candidates. That would have given the Arab American and Muslim community a power they have never enjoyed and positioned them to do even more in a Township that is in total political disarray and with poor political leadership.
But even in disarray, the protestors and screamers from the Arab community can do little more than undermine themselves and try to prevent Arabs and Muslims from winning office. Fortunately, Abuzir did not have to rely on their pathetic track record of continued failure. Abuzir won on her own.
(This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of eight newspapers including The Regional News. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at email@example.com.)