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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Political vacancies

Did you ever wonder why sometimes there are no challengers to take on incumbents running for various political offices? The SJ-R's Bernard Schoenburg gets the low-down from Sangamon County's party bosses. (Deal or no deal? Libri, Timoney explain strategies.) Tony Libri is the Republican county chairman and also holds the elected office of Circuit Clerk. Tim Timoney is the Democrat county chairman and is a local attorney and former assistant State's Attorney.

What about running a candidate to avoid a free ride for the opposition?
"All my degrees are in strategy," Libri said. "That's not a good strategy thing to do. I'm not saying I won't find somebody, but ... I don't want to spend resources on sending a lamb to the slaughter."
He also said that it's getting more difficult to find people who want to get involved in politics. The sentiment he finds is, he said, "Why would I cut my salary in half and have everybody and their brother calling talk shows to criticize them?" He said all three possible candidates have been "top notch professional people," but they are staying out because of the rigors of being in the public eye.
Still, Timoney said, Democrats know that "Sangamon County's a Republican county. It always has been and it's a difficult nut for us to crack when you go outside the city."
He said it is a particularly uphill battle to take on incumbents who are well thought of, and potential candidates "just see the power of the Republican Party is sort of overwhelming on a countywide level. ...

Neither guy wants to put someone on the ballot just for the sake of filling ballot slots.

"I'm not in favor of just putting warm bodies on the ballot unless we think we have a good chance of winning the election," Timoney said. "If we don't think we have a shot at an office, why get a candidate on there and spend all that money and spin our wheels when we could be concentrating on other races?"

As I've always suspected, it's really about the money. Which is too bad for the citizenry. However, a candidate doesn't necessarily need to have his or her party's backing to get on the ballot. Sometimes they even get elected.

Posted by Marie at November 4, 2007 2:41 PM