CHRONICLE: First battles for ’12 elections fought in the precincts


Kane County has a vacancy rate of almost 40 percent for Republican precinct committeemen, said Doug Ibendahl, editor of Republican News Watch, an online commentary of GOP news.


Kane County has 299 precincts. In 2010, only 181 precincts had a candidate for Republican precinct committeeman. No Republican ran in 118 precincts, he said.


Ibendahl’s website,, hosts the Republican Precinct Project, urging  people to get involved as committeemen. All that is required is 10 signatures to get on a ballot. If no one runs, the party chairman for the county appoints someone.


“Where is everybody?” Ibendahl said. “Kane’s vacancy rate is not the worst at 39.5 percent, but it should be hard to find a precinct in Kane and say there are no good Republicans there.”


Ibendahl is a Chicago attorney and former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party and served on the Bush-Cheney legal team in Florida during the 2000 Presidential recount.


Ibendahl’s goal is for a committeeman to take the helm of every one of the 6,705 precincts in Illinois. He said full participation in these two-year volunteer positions is critical for the success of Republican candidates – and for taking back the White House.


“They are the front line ambassadors for the party,” Ibendahl said. “They are the only party official that the average person will ever meet – they are not going to meet Mitt Romney or Herman Cain.”


He ticked off a list of responsibilities for a good committeeman – dropping off literature, collecting signatures, registering people to vote and helping them get to the polls – describing exactly what Faber and the Hecoxes do.


“We’re the ones losing elections,” Ibendahl said of Republicans. “How did [Gov. Pat] Quinn win the election when every poll leading up to the election for weeks, showed Bill Brady winning? Pat Quinn pulled it out because the Democrats do it better with boots on the ground. They’ve got teachers, unions, police and fire …  the problem with the Republican Party is the country club types and company CEOs are not, by and large, knocking on doors.”


The Republican Precinct Project is geared to have the GOP match what the Democrats do in getting boots on the ground, he said.


“They have a huge army they rally every election,” Ibendahl said. “Republicans would rather sit around and complain. We’ve got less than a month to go now. People have until the close of business on Dec. 5 to file nominating petitions to be precinct committeeman.”


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