Sneed: GOP pols, black ministers fight for Rauner money

Written By BY MICHAEL SNEED Posted: 03/27/2014, 02:17am
Array Blake Sercye

Follow the money . . .

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

Hmmm. Does Sneed smell a whiff of napalm?

◆ Translation: A big-bucks brouhaha is brewing between South and West Side Republican committeemen and powerful black ministers being courted by GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.

◆ At stake: Money . . . er, financial backing to get out the South and West Side vote for uber-rich Rauner, who is trolling for Cook County support in Gov. Pat Quinn’s heavily Democratic backyard.

◆ Backshot: Rauner, whose campaign has formulated a black voter strategy in Cook County, has already lined up the backing of the Rev. James Meeks, a former Dem state senator and powerful vote-getter in the black community.

◆ $$$$: Sneed is told that the skirmish for fiscal attention resulted in a summit being called at 6 p.m. Monday at 2800 W. Madison by at least a dozen South and West Side committeemen — some of whom claim neglect and little funding under the leadership of Cook County GOP Party Chairman Aaron Del Mar. Del Mar is up for re-election on April 16, and the group is scheduled to hear from his opponent, 43rd Ward Committeeman Chris Cleveland.

“The party didn’t give money to the Bud Billiken parade, but they did give it to the Irish parade,” said Larry Nelson, 24th Ward GOP committeeman.

“That’s not true,” Del Mar said. “We didn’t give money to the St. Patrick’s Day parade. But I can’t speak for the Chicago Republican Party.”

Countered Nelson: “We are open to change. Aaron [Del Mar] did some stuff that we don’t like. We know Bruce gave money to get our endorsement, but Del Mar didn’t give money to committeemen to get it out into the ward.

“We had to raise money to get votes out,” Nelson said.

Nelson also is angry that ministers get more attention than committeemen.

“Don’t go to the ministers!” he told Sneed.

“Go directly to the committeemen. We won the election! We have better input than a preacher coming in here telling the people to vote,” Nelson said. “We aren’t going into people’s churches to tell them how to run their congregation. Let us run our own wards.”

Wayland Johnson, the 9th Ward committeeman who will be attending the summit meeting, also feels Rauner should woo committeemen in their neighborhoods, rather than going to the ministers first.

“The black church, I don’t think church is the place for [politics]. Remember when Christ kicked the merchants out of the temple,” Johnson said.

So who has more control over voting in the South and West Side wards?

“The ministers,” Del Mar said. “Committeemen have small constituencies in their wards; the ministers have flocks all over the place. Both sides have to be happy.

“However, I don’t think my opponent, Chris Cleveland, has a calculator,” said Del Mar.

“I’m already told the committeemen meeting Monday are now going my way, and the event may even be canceled. I already have support of everyone on the Republican slate . . . including Bruce Rauner!”

“In the midst of Illinois’ biggest opportunity to elect a Republican governor, Cleveland thinks it’s time to change captain of a ship?” Del Mar said. “He talks a big game, but he never won a real election.

“I’m the first minority ever to sit on the Palatine Village Board,” added Del Mar, who is of Filipino and Swedish descent.

Stay tuned.

Scoop ’em . . .

Attorney Blake Sercye, 27, who lost his bid for Cook County commissioner despite the rare endorsement of both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, just got a new political job.

◆ Translation: Emanuel is appointing him to the Community Development Commission, which handles new Tax Increment Financing designations.

I spy . . .

Maria Shriver stopped by Gibsons on Tuesday night. . . . The band Los Amigos Invisibles stopped by Quartino on Monday. . . . Chicago Bull Taj Gibson stopped by Gibsons after the game Monday night . . . ditto NFL star Troy Aikman.

Sneedlings . . .

Condolences to former U.S. Attorney Jim Burns, whose mother, Betty Burns, 93, died Monday. . . . Thursday’s birthdays: Mariah Carey, 44; Quentin Tarantino, 51.

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