Sneed: Rauner backs incumbent in battle over Cook County GOP leadership

Written By By MICHAEL SNEED Posted: 03/25/2014, 01:35pm
Array 1-28-99...copy...43rd ward candidate Chris

County heat!

Bruce’s next battle!

The Grand Old Party has got a grand old fight on its hands.

◆ Translation: Sneed hears a tug-of-war is being waged over leadership of the Republican Party in the Democratic bastion of Cook County.

◆ GOP gubernatorial primary winner Bruce Rauner is backing the re-election of Cook County’s present GOP chairman, Aaron Del Mar, Republican committeeman from Palatine township.

◆ Conservatives are backing Chris Cleveland, a hard-charging 43rd Ward GOP committeeman, to steer the Rauner ticket to victory on Gov. Pat Quinn’s homefront.

◆ Quite simply, Del Mar backed Rauner in his primary battle against longtime party stalwarts State Sen. Kirk Dillard, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and State Sen. Bill Brady — so Rauner supports him.

◆ Quite frankly, party purists argue: “Del Mar is lethargic and lazy and didn’t even attract enough endorsed candidates to fill out a party ballot,” said a top party source.

In 1999, Cleveland, now owner of a Chicago-based software company called Dieselpoint, Inc., ran for 43rd Ward alderman. He lost, but he claims he got the highest percentage of votes a Republican had received in that district to date. “It’s about candidates, media and money, in that order,” Cleveland told conservative blog Illinois Review. “Without the horsepower to bring those things in, a political party isn’t doing its job.”

◆ The GOP strategy? “The black vote in Cook County is paramount for Rauner; especially if they don’t vote,” said a top political strategist. “The strategy is pretty clear. Rauner already blocked out Rev. James Meeks, and every black who doesn’t turn out in the November election hurts Gov. Quinn.

“Rauner’s strategists are smart enough to replicate what Republican Gov. Jim Edgar did to defeat Democrat Neil Hartigan by getting the black reverends on his side to make it look like [Edgar] got the base of black support,” the Dem source said.

“That ensured low black voter turnout, which would be disastrous for Pat Quinn.“

Stay tuned.

A Dart’s throw . . .

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is heading to Washington, D.C., Wednesday to testify before a Congressional hearing on the criminalization of the mentally ill and the nation’s broken mental health system.

He’s driving.

◆ Gas gauge: It is no surprise Dart was invited to testify. Cook County Jail is now the largest mental health facility in the country, with approximately 30 percent of the inmate population suffering from serious mental illness.

The Rutherford report . . .

Sneed hears state Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s career is done. Over. Zero. Zip. The dumpster.

Sneed hears rumbles the report he commissioned — and then didn’t make public — into a former employee’s allegations of sexual harassment may contain evidence of politically damaging behavior that has nothing to do with sex or harassment. Ouch.

The mail man!

Former President Jimmy Carter only corresponds with world leaders via snail mail.

He fears email communications are being monitored by intelligence agencies.

◆ In case you missed it, the former president told veteran journo Andrea Mitchell when he wants to communicate with a foreign leader, he does it the old-fashioned way.

He writes a letter. He mails it via the post office.

I spy . . .

Actor Terrence “Hustle & Flow” Howard stopped in at RL, Oprah’s favorite Chicago eatery, for an early dinner Sunday . . . and then accompanied Lee Daniels, director of “The Butler,” for dinner Tuesday night at Gibsons . . . The entire cast of “Chicago Fire” burned up Gibsons last week . . . ditto jazz great Ramsey Lewis . . . and Christopher “Peter Brady” Knight dined at Luxbar last Saturday.

Sneedlings . . .

Tuesday’s birthdays: Aretha Franklin, 72; Sarah Jessica Parker, 49, and Elton John, 67.

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