Precincts hold key to defeating the Democrats in Illinois


By DOUG IBENDAHL • November 12, 2011


The Republican Precinct Project is already a resounding success. We started with the goal of reducing the statewide vacancy rate for elected Republican Precinct Committeemen from 51% in 2010 to below 20% in 2012. (No Republican even bothered to run for this volunteer GOP office in 3,440 precincts around the state last year.)


I think we’ll exceed our goal for candidate recruitment. We’re hearing from Republicans from across the state who are stepping up for the first time because they recognize our government and our GOP in Illinois are in big trouble after years of neglect.


There’s the gentleman from Southern Illinois who told us he’s running in a precinct where no Republican has bothered to run in over 15 years.


There’s the young woman, a proud Republican from the western suburbs in Northern Illinois who has had the same Republican Precinct Committeeman for years, but never hears a peep from the person. She’s running herself this time because she’s committed to doing a better job.


We get great reports like this almost every day. In counties with a good GOP County Chairman, new folks are working with that Chairman to recruit where needed. And in those counties where there is an attitude of “we don’t want nobody nobody sent” – real leaders aren’t being deterred. New people are taking charge.


True Republicans don’t sit around worrying about the old bosses and the old attitudes. After all, where has that gotten our GOP in Illinois?


You don’t need anyone’s permission to run for office. If you’re a Republican and you vote Republican, you have as much right to have your voice heard in this Party as anyone else.


We’re also not waiting for State GOP Chairman Pat Brady to lift a finger. Brady won’t even post information about running for Precinct Committeeman on the State Party’s website. Pat Brady’s idea of party building was spending months trying to sell fake votes in a meaningless straw poll that’s already been forgotten just a week after its tacky finale.


Do you want to stop Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2012? It’s not going to happen unless we get serious about rebuilding the Illinois GOP. That’s going to take a lot of new blood – literally thousands of Republicans standing-up and getting more involved this year.


By all means, if you have a good GOP County Chairman, reach-out and offer to volunteer. Find out what you can do to help the GOP in your county. (You’ll find contact information for each of the 102 County Republican organizations HERE.)


Similarly, if you’re well represented by a Precinct Committeeman now and that person is running again, you might reasonably decide to help that person instead of running yourself.


But if you aren’t being well represented – run yourself, or at least help recruit.


We’ve already heard from dedicated Republicans in several counties who are visiting their County Clerk’s office, purchasing a list of the county’s registered voters (typically just a few dollars), and then calling-up “Hard Rs” as part of their recruitment drive. This is smart politics as folks with an established and consistent history of pulling Republican ballots in Primaries are natural potential candidates for Republican Precinct Committeeman.


Work, church, family, friends, and civic and charitable groups are other obvious fertile grounds for recruitment.


Becoming a committeeman gives you a seat at the GOP table. While strictly volunteer, it’s a crucial job. Committeemen also represent the GOP’s farm team. From these ranks come the next candidates for county board, state house, state senate, school board, congress, and governor.


December 5 is the last day for candidates in Illinois to collect petition signatures and the last day to file those petitions with the County Clerk. That’s plenty of time to make a big difference.


Only 10 valid signatures from registered voters in your precinct are required to get on the ballot for Republican Precinct Committeeman. Collect at least twice the minimum to be safe. The whole process is easy and can be completed in just a few hours.


Many people have told me they get more inspired once they start talking to their neighbors about their candidacy. Everyone seems to find the feedback overwhelmingly positive. Most of your neighbors will respect and appreciate that you’re entering the arena – especially to seek a volunteer post.


And by the way, you’ll of course be on the same March 20 Primary ballot as all of the GOP candidates for President. Granted, this office will appear a little further down the ballot. Still pretty cool though.


You’ll find more information on running for Republican Precinct Committeeman including links to the required forms HERE.


The rules and the forms are the same for 101 Illinois counties. That’s every one except for Cook County. Neither party elects Precinct Committeemen in Cook which has a unique legal structure. However, the analogous position of Republican Ward Committeeman is available right now. All 50 of those Republican positions in Chicago are also up for election in the March 20 Primary. You’ll find more information on running for Republican Ward Committeeman in Chicago HERE. (Note the petition form and signature requirements differ a little from Precinct Committeeman, but the basic job of building the GOP and representing Republicans in your area is the same.)


If you ever have any questions about any of this, don’t hesitate to contact me at (312) 648-0061 or at


Finally, even if you aren’t running for office this year, you can still help. Your financial contribution to the Republican Precinct Project will help us get the boots on the ground necessary to counter Barack Obama and his Democrat pals in Illinois. You can contribute online or by mail HERE.



Paid for by the Republican Precinct Project. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website ( or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.


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