By DOUG IBENDAHL • July 26, 2011
One week ago on the morning of Monday, July 18, the majority of DuPage County Republicans heard for the first time that DuPage County GOP Chairman Dan Cronin was stepping down – effective that day.
My good friend Dave Diersen broke the story in his morning news eblast. Dave told me he had only been given the news the prior afternoon on Sunday, the 17th.
So Cronin resigned on a Monday. He was then replaced that night by Randy Ramey in a unanimous vote by the nine GOP Township Chairs in DuPage.
The vote was just a formality. The nine Township Chairmen comprising the county party’s Executive Committee considered no other candidates when they met. Even if another candidate wanted to mount a challenge, it would have been difficult to do so in less than 12 hours.
Plus why even bother running when it seemed the fix was in for Pate Philip’s stepson?
However it appears that not everyone in DuPage is slinking away and accepting yet another backroom deal. Not this time.
Late last week an automated telephone survey was conducted of GOP Precinct Committeemen in DuPage. I spoke with a couple of committeemen who received the call.
The touchtone survey asked the following three questions:
“Earlier this week, Randy Ramey was appointed our DuPage County Republican Chairman in a closed door Executive Committee meeting. In your opinion, do you think it was appropriate to elect a new Republican Party leader in a closed door meeting?”
“Many Republican leaders in our county have considered holding a special meeting to elect a new Chairman by allowing committeemen to cast a weighted vote for a candidate they prefer. Would you be in favor of our party holding such a meeting?”
“If a special meeting was held to elect a new Chairman, would you support Randy Ramey, who was elected Chairman in a closed door meeting, or some other candidate?”
I don’t know who sponsored the survey, although I have some good guesses.
Frankly it’s just refreshing to see at least some Republicans in DuPage not taking things lying down for a change. There are a lot of people very unhappy with the way the chairman switcheroo was handled.
However let’s put the survey aside. A special meeting and real election is warranted for a much better reason. It was wrong for party pooh-bahs to exclude the Precinct Committeemen.
I’ve reviewed the By-Laws of the DuPage County Republican Central Committee. Article VI, Section 3.a. says:
“In the event of a vacancy in the Office of County Chairman, whether by resignation, death, relinquishment of precinct committeeman status, removal or other reason, the Vice Chairman shall succeed the County Chairman and shall fulfill the balance of the County Chairman’s unexpired term through the next regularly scheduled County Convention, as provided for by statute.”
In this case, the Vice Chairman, Pat Durante, resigned his post at the same time Dan Cronin resigned the Chairman spot.
In other words, that section is out so we next go to Section 7 of that same Article VI which states:
“Vacancies in any elected or appointed office of the Central Committee, except as provided for herein, shall be filled in the same manner as originally filled.”
It doesn’t matter that years ago Dan Cronin may have replaced Kirk Dillard as GOP County Chairman in yet another backroom deal by the Executive Committee. Any reasonable reading of that section makes it clear that we’re now only talking about filling the balance of the unexpired current term. If the DuPage GOP did things wrong years ago too, shame on them. But past mistakes shouldn’t be perpetuated.
The current term of the DuPage County GOP Chairmanship was originally filled by all of the Precinct Committeemen present at the DuPage County GOP Convention held in March of last year.
Therefore, all of the Precinct Committeemen should again have had a voice on Cronin’s replacement.
It could still be done. The By-Laws provide that a special meeting must be convened if Precinct Committeemen representing 20% of the County Central Committee sign a petition.
It should also be noted that nowhere in the By-Laws is the Executive Committee specifically empowered to replace the Chairman on its own. There is no mention of that power whatsoever.
What’s really sad is that if Ramey and his backers had gone about this the right way, in the open and with proper participation by the Precinct Committeemen, he might very well have prevailed anyway.
However, it’s all up to the Republicans in DuPage County. I don’t live there.
All I know is that Obama whipped McCain in DuPage County by 45,072 votes in 2008.
And when Obama carries DuPage again in 2012 (which he will), all I ask is that guys like Randy Ramey look in the mirror. If you want to keep shutting Republicans out and running the DuPage GOP like your own personal fiefdom, at least have the decency to man-up and accept responsibility for the damage you’re doing.
Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.