Here is my formula to win a political campaign:
Don’t put up any yard signs. Don’t do any mailers except for residents of retirement and private homes. Don’t spend any of your own money and take no money from special interest groups. Have no fund raisers. Don’t do a phone bank. Weather repeated attacks on your perceived personality by the Journal Star and get their “smarzy” endorsment. (As Bill Dennis called their endorsement of me, even 5th rate columnist Republican Roger Monroe, 20 years on the County Board without ever being elected Chairman, did a rambling attack on me 3 days before the election.) Survive the fabrications mailed by your opponent in 2 or more mailings. Make no public attacks on your opponent; just correct their fabrications on a blog site.
Be 81 years old, double the age of your opponent.
Try not to be a candidate in an election year dominated over the whole country by Democrats.
Survive the radical segment of the local environmentalists whose letters to the editor attack your intelligence. Survive phone calls to voters in your district urging people to vote against you, some from your own party.
What I described above is the way my campaign progressed and ended in a win for me. While the margin was small, a win is a win no matter what the score. For those who say I should have won by a larger margin, I suggest they won’t forget that I did win and am on the Peoria County Board for the next four years if I desire. I survived a number of telephone calls to park employees asking them to vote against me coming from at least one leading member of the Peoria Park District. (More on the Park District soon) The best letter of describing and supporting me came from a Democrat. After I made a supposedly unpopular vote on the landfill hearings and got bad press for doing what every responsible person should do, one prominent member of the Republican Party asked me to consider stepping down because he said the party felt I couldn’t win and if I wouldn't step down, would I consent to a telephone poll. I said no to both questions.
The application by the landfill operators was turned down by 12 members of the board and supported by six including myself. (Locally owned and well operated Peoria Disposal Company has filled an appeal to overturn the decision and the County has already spent $91,000 of taxpayer’s money in preliminary defense of the appeal.) More on the progress of this appeal later. By the way, PDC is in Peoria County and therefore a constituent of mine same as the opposers.
Since I didn’t put up any yard signs except at the voting precincts, I don’t have any signs to pick up. I did pick up all Republican signs at one precinct and picked up my other precinct signs before daybreak today.
I want to thank especially Republicans Tim Swain, Gene Ginoli, Chuck Martin and Democrat Kenny Carrigan. And a special thanks to Fritz Rapp and his daughter Julie, owner of ADCO who designed and printed my handout.
I thank the Republican Party for their endorsement and many of the hard working staff at headquarters especially Norma Goodale. Thanks to Mayor Jim Ardis for his support. (And ex-Mayor Jim Maloof) Thanks to PAC for supporting me and their understanding of my request not to be given any money. Same for the Republican Central Committee.
And the big thanks to all those Republicans, Independents and Democrats who voted to reelect me. These are the most informed people in Peoria County and the type of individuals who want some form of stable sanity in governmental bodies and look to people like me to provide it.
My next challenge is the approval of the budget and the election of a County Board Chairman. Both Democrats Tom O’Neill and Bill Prather have thrown their hat in the ring. I am not standing for reelection as Vice-Chairman.
As Saddam Hussein, after being sentenced to hang, said “no hard feelings, let’s all shake hands and work together”. After all no matter of which party we belong to our job is to make the best INFORMED decisions for the benefit of Peoria County.
I plan to continue to do that. I just received an email from Patrick Urich, our capable county administrator, congratulating me with the expression that he looked forward to continue working with me.
Thanks to all those who supported me and thanks to Cheryl S. who always has a kind word. Many, many thanks to my wife Claire and my daughter Mary Jo. And to my daughter Nancy Ann, for her interest and words of support. And friends like the Ruffs and Alms. All others who gave support are so numerous that I can only say “special thanks” to all of you.
Sure, I could have won by a larger by putting up yard signs; I’m probably the only candidate in the country who didn’t put up yard signs, didn’t send out mailers, and didn’t have a fund raiser, didn't do a phone bank and still won my reelection. By losing I would have probably added more years to my life, more money in the bank and be an unlikely target for the vile of 3rd string columnists of the ilk of Phil L and Terry B.