Thorner: District 51 Race Turns Nasty When Powerful Incumbent Challenged
March 21, 2014
An important IL Congressional Lake County Primary race receiving very little coverage or attention outside the area represented by District 51 was the contest between two Republican candidates, incumbent Ed Sullivan, Jr. and Bob Bednar, Sullivan’s conservative Republican challenger.
Ed Sulllivan, Jr. has represented the 51st District since 2003 and now heads the House Republican Organization. As head of the HRO, Sullivan used money from this organization to send out a mailer in support of himself which contained information that was not true (and even slanderous) to sully his challenger, Bob Bednar.
As the one who holds the money bag for aspiring Republican candidates, in the past Sullivan has told Republican conservative candidates that the HRO doesn’t involve itself in Primary Elections, nor does it dole out money, neither of which Sullivan has adhered to in the past. The mailer sent out to 51st District Republican on behalf of Ed Sullivan, Jr. was so nasty that Bob Cook, Head of the Lake County Republican Organization, made a robo call the day before the Primary Election informing Republicans in District 51 about the false nature of Ed Sullivan’s mailer.
Ed Sullivan voted for gay marriage, against reducing the taxpayers’ burden to the state pension fund by $1.1 BILLION, for a state income-tax increase that hits Illinois businesses for $29 million, against parents’ right to alternative education. He voted to allow a minor girl seeking an abortion to circumvent her parents’ authority, for a massive expansion of gambling, to allow alcohol to be sold near schools and to force state and local government to recognize “consular identification cards” issued by foreign governments.
The House Republican Organization mailer sent out on behalf of Sullivan claimed that Ed Sullivan, Jr. had been voted as “one of the most conservative members of the House.” Really, with Sullivan’s voting record? The Republican conservative standard must be very low to meet in the House!
Not surprising is that Sullivan received big bucks from the gay lobby for his campaign. A friend told me that Ed got help with robo calls made out-of-state on his behalf from as far away as San Francisco.
It certainly is not common practice for members of the General Assembly to hold two government positions at the same time. As a state rep, Sullivan earned a base salary of $67,836 in 2012 — Illinois General Assembly members are among the highest-paid state legislators in the country — along with a $111 per diem for each session day. Meanwhile, legislators in nearby Indiana earn just $22,6l6 a year. Many Illinois legislators make far more than the base amount due to bonuses that come with leadership positions.
While serving as a representative, Ed Sullivan, Jr. acts as the Fremont Township Assessor a base salary of $68,405.59, with Health Insurance benefits of $14,343.72 and Life Insurance in the amount of $192,000.
This situation grieves me as a conservative Republican, because Rep. Sullivan has taken the same playbook of the House and the Senate at the federal level in trying to maintain the status quo by being unwelcoming to conservative Republicans. In regard to his own seat, he had no compunction about making facts up and misrepresenting situations to sully his opponent Bob Bednar and his wife to save his own skin.
Shouldn’t a primary be open to all who wish to run, with voters deciding? This is not yet the Soviet Union.
As at the federal level where a welcoming mat is not in place for conservative Republicans, it seems to be the same here in IL. Establishment Republicans like Ed Sullivan call all the shots. Is it any wonder why the Republican Party in IL is dysfunctional and has little clout when it comes to policy-making?
Despite the nasty tone of the campaign, Bob Bednar did quite well receiving 4,985 (41%) votes to Ed Sullivan’s 7,125 votes (59%). What is more, Sullivan spend $300,000, while Bednar spent approximately $12,000.
Here is Bob Bednar’s You Tube Video responding to Ed Sullivan’s misconception about his life and conduct.
I am personally familiar with two conservative House members – Jeanne Ives (42nd) and Tom Morrison (54th). More of the same as they are needed, but Sullivan appears to be serving as an impediment to getting good conservative Republican candidates elected and sent to Springfield, as least in Lake County, IL.
District 51 includes all or parts of Mundelein, Libertyville, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Vernon Hills, Hawthorn Woods, Deer Park, Green Oaks, Barrington, Tower Lakes, North Barrington and Lake Barrington.