Comprehensive article: Politics Factors Into Shaw’s Selection Over Neerhof in 58th House District

July 5, 2012


Dr. Mark Neefhof making a case for continuing his own bid for the 58th House seat at a open meeting held at the Republican Federation Headquarters in Libertyville
Political shenanigans are not limited to one political party.

Integrity, however, in government and among those elected to serve is essential at all levels of government to allow the sunshine in. If not, corruption will take over and will eventually snag elected officials who had every intention of initially serving their constituents honestly.  

It is not my intent as a lifelong Republican to point fingers at my fellow Republicans. However, I believe malicious actions are like a cancer that will only multiply and destroy the whole if left unchecked, and I cannot permit injustice when observed to remain under the radar of public scrutiny. 

The narrative of the Illinois 58th House District race represents a current political election kerfuffle that every voter needs to be aware of to make an informed and educated decisions this fall and in future elections.

As such, it is fair to inquire why Dr. Mark Neerhof was not selected as the Republican candidate to succeed Lauren Turelli on the November ballot after Turelli dropped out of the race. Instead, it was Mark Shaw

My initial thought upon hearing the news of Turelli’s departure from the race was whether Dr. Neerhof had been approached to take Lauren’s place? If Neerhof had been asked and expressed a desire to continue his bid for the 58th District House seat, why then were other candidates up for consideration by Lake County GOP Chairman Bob Cook to replace Turelli, including Shaw and Keith Gray?

Wanting to hear a factual account from the individual who had experienced rejection, I made an appointment to visit Dr. Mark Neerhof and his wife, Betty, last Saturday in their lovely Lake Forest home.   

It would be impossible to relate every nuanced detail of my conversation with Neerhof. What I will attempt to show is that Turelli perpetuated alleged deception during her primary campaign, and how Shaw, as her campaign manager, formulated the same alleged deceptions via press releases.   

Furthermore, the selection of Shaw to succeed Turelli was enabled through the actions of Ed Sullivan, 51st District representative, Tom Cross, Minority Republican Leader in Springfield, and Cook. 

It was in August of last year that Neerhof first expressed his desire to run for the District 58th House seat to Sullivan. 

Although Neerhof had never run for office before, loving his country and thankful for his success in life and the opportunities given him, he wanted to go to Springfield to make a difference. 

Neerhof was willing to sacrifice his own career as a renowned D.O. specializing in material and fetal health in a practice limited to high risk obstetrics in the North Shore University Health System Medical Group to deal with much needed Medicaid reform and other pressing problems facing the state.   

Sullivan was seated in the same spot as I in Neerhof’s living room with wife Betty present in August. Neerhof asked Sullivan if Springfield would be supportive of his campaign effort if he became a candidate in District 58?   

Without hesitation, Sullivan candidly informed Neerhof that the HRO (House Republican Organization) never became involved to lend a hand financially in primary elections and that he would be supportive of Neerhof’s bid.   

On Sept. 28, 2011, Karen May announced she would not run for another term. On the same day, Neerhof received two telephone calls from his campaign manager, Brad Goodman, first telling him that May had dropped out of the race and then informing Neerhof that Turelli had entered the race.  

I was surprised to learn that Gray, a Mettawa businessman, was a viable candidate along with Neerhof for the District 58 House seat. With the announcement of Turelli’s bid to enter the race, Gray pulled out of the race Oct. 11, 2011, to give his full support to her.   

With the exit of Gray, the contest was now between Neerhof and Turelli. From Jan. 1 to the March 3 primary, Neerhof was involved in an active campaign, knocking on doors every Saturday and Sunday with the exception of one weekend. During that same period, Neerhof was saddled with raising the funds necessary to compete with Turelli.       

In a complete about face to what Sullivan told Neerhof in his face-to-face meeting last August, the HRO, through Republican Minority Leader Cross, dolled out $50,000 to the Turelli campaign during the primary season (see attached PDF documents). 

It was during the last few weeks of the District 58 race that all the mud slinging ads and campaign mailings with their alleged false allegations against challenger Neerhof occurred, made possible through an additional pot of money made available to the Turelli campaign by Cross out of his HRO fund (see attached PDF documents).   

Attempts made by Turelli to explain an advanced degree she had obtained in International Relations from England’s University of Cambridge in 1994, and the subsequent controversy, caught the attention of Cross in Springfield and raised questions over Turelli’s ability to beat Neerhof.   

Shaw allegedly countered by informing Neerhof that he had filed false ethics mistakes against him for receiving income from Medicaid patients. 

Shaw later admitted that his complaint against Neerhof was never filed. As Neerhof told me, “As one who works for the North Shore University Health System Medical Group, I never receive separate checks from the government. I am an employee of Northshore.”  

Shaw’s selection by Cook to represent the GOP against Democratic candidate Scott Drury deserves exploration.   

According to Neerhof, the reasons he was given by Cook for Shaw’s appointment on the same night it was decided are suggestive of heavy-handed political pressure applied on Cook from the Republican Establishment in Lake County and by Cross in Springfield.

1.  According to Cook, Shaw had his campaign team in place and ready to go. Did Neerhof’s campaign efforts and the time, dedication and money spent since entering the race in August of 2011 count for nothing? 

2.  According to Cook, Louis Atsaves had withdrawn his support for Neerhof and was now supporting Shaw.  Not true, according to Neerhof after speaking by phone with Atsaves, precinct leader of Moraine Township, immediately after Cook made the Atsaves allegation.   

3.  Cook admitted to Neerhof that he had based his Atsaves allegation on a rumor, according to Neerhof.    

4.  According to Cook, Neerhof would have been selected had he been involved in more Republican type activities throughout the years.   

It is true that Shaw can show am active record in many Republican and civic activities.  

As Neerhof related to me, “If Mark Shaw believed he was such a great candidate, why didn’t he initially run instead of Lauren Turelli?” 

Neerhof’s background is not flush with outside activities. They include mainly participation in church activities and his work as an executive board member of DocsPatientCare, a national organization committed to real medical reform. He also would have brought extensive medical knowledge and expertise to the floor of the House to reform this state’s desperately needed and broken Medicaid system. 

Now it is time to reveal the real reason why Neerhof was passed over. The financial help given the Turelli campaign, with not a drop going to support Neerhof’s campaign, speaks volumes as to which candidate Cross wanted sent to Springfield to join him in the House.

The question remains what there was about Shaw’s suitability that prompted the Republican Establishment in Lake County and in Springfield to embrace him? 

Within the Republican Establishment is found the answer. Conservatives need not apply or only sparingly. They upset the apple cart with their clear thinking. 

Having a mind of their own, conservatives will not allow their principles to be compromised, but are duty bound to do what their constituents elected them to do back home. 

Neerhof is not ashamed of calling himself a conservative Republican. He is not an extremist in any way, but to Cross having “yes” establishment congressmen in the House is important to maintaining his power and control and his leadership role as Republican House Minority Leader. 

Shaw represents the ideal Republican Establishment candidate. In contrast, Neerhof, as a Republican political outsider, doesn’t measure up in the eyes of the Republican Establishment either at home or in Springfield.  

With enough public outrage, both Bob Cook and Mark Shaw could be made to resign their respective positions and Neerhof given a chance to resume his campaign for the 58th House seat.  

I opened my article by insisting that integrity was necessary at all levels of government. Is it any wonder why the American people have become disrespectful wary of politicians and their political institutions?


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