Last Saturday, the Illinois Constitution Party met in northwest Chicago for their annual state convention. The main order of business was to pick nominees for governor and lieutenant governor. William J. Kelly was nominated for governor and Chad Koppie was nominated for lieutenant governor.
Kelly previously announced his intent to run as a Republican, but ultimately decided not to. Kelly ran for Comptroller in the 2010 Republican primary. He finished second, behind Judy Baar Topinka and ahead of Jim Dodge (this year’s sole Republican treasurer candidate).
Chad Koppie has also sought political office. In 2016, he ran as the Constitution Party’s write-in candidate for U.S. Senate.
Kelly’s announcement to run for governor came as a shock to some people following the Constitution Party. Prior to his announcement, it was assumed that Randy Stufflebeam was going to be the nominee. He announced his intent to run in late 2016, but changed his mind due to unforeseen circumstances. Stufflebeam ran as a write-in candidate for governor in 2006.
Kelly’s nomination was peculiar not just because of Stufflebeam’s decision to not run, but also because he was neither a member of the Illinois Constitution Party nor physically present at the convention. Despite the circumstances, he was nominated with a set of conditions.
- He must become a member.
- He must sign an affirmation or oath stating that he understands and will uphold the party’s platform.
- He must give confirmation within 7 days of the convention.
On Thursday, the Illinois Constitution Party’s Facebook page put out the following statement.
THE CONSTITUTION PARTY OF ILLINOIS HAS NOMINATED WILLIAM J. KELLY TO BE ITS GOVERNOR CANDIDATE.
Chicago, Illinois – March 15, 2018 – Randy Stufflebeam, Chairman of the Constitution Party of Illinois, has issued the following statement regarding the race for Illinois Governor:
“Based on the latest polls, it looks like two billionaires – one Democrat and one Republican – are likely to win their parties’ nominations on March 20th. Are either of these candidates committed to a constitutional government or are they committed to corrupt government?” asked Stufflebeam. “The time is right for a candidate who is committed to the three pillars of Integrity, Liberty, & Prosperity and a constitutionally correct government and that candidate is William J. Kelly. He was born and raised in Illinois. William Kelly has demonstrated his passion for truth and has stood up over and over again against the corruption in both parties – Democrat and Republican. He is a proven fighter who has fought for Illinois taxpayers and their families for twenty years and he will continue to fight for all of us at the ballot box in November. The Constitution Party of Illinois is proud to nominate William J. Kelly as our candidate for Governor.”
“I am very proud and honored to be part of the Constitution Party of Illinois’ effort to rebuild Illinois and our country, state by state,” said William J. Kelly. “This year marks Illinois’ bicentennial and after 200 years, the two major parties have all but destroyed our State, but not our hopes and dreams. At a Chicago meeting in 1860, a little known third party nominated Abraham Lincoln to be its candidate for President. That third party was the Republican Party. Today, it’s time for a new third party and I am proud to be following in the footsteps of Illinois’ favorite son, President Abraham Lincoln.”
Chad Koppie has also been nominated to be Kelly’s running mate for Lt. Governor.
The Constitution Party is the fifth largest political party in the United States. It is a socially and fiscally conservative party that makes frequent mention of the Founding Fathers throughout its platform. Read more about the Constitution Party’s platform here.
The Illinois Constitution Party will need to collect 25,000 signatures to get on the ballot. Democrats and Republicans require just 5,000.
Langfelder remains confident in his Township merger question
Springfield is on its way to eliminating a unit of government. Capital Township, which is coterminous with the City of Springfield, is moving towards consolidation. Currently, Sangamon County is trying to get the township to merge with the county. But Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder is pushing the effort for the township to be merged into the city.
The County’s effort had strong momentum going for it before the election. Both the township board and the county have approved the merger. To further solidify their mandate, they put a non-binding question on the November 6th ballot. That question asked if the county and township should pursue a full merger. The effort passed with 75 percent support, or 31,800 votes.
Despite the progress the County’s effort is making, Langfelder still thinks the city should take over the township. He remains confident that voters will support his ballot question. But that support will have to come in two parts. Because the Springfield City Council declined to endorse his question, Langfelder will need signatures to get on the April ballot at all, in addition to getting votes on Election Day.
Republicans Davis and LaHood hold onto congressional seats
Both Congressmen who serve the Springfield area retained their seats last night. Darin LaHood (R-18) and Rodney Davis (R-13) will be going back to Washington DC. LaHood had a decisive victory with 67.5 percent of the vote against Democrat Junius Rodriguez who took 32.5 percent. Davis had a much closer race. He won out over Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan by a margin of just 3,700 votes.
But Illinois Congressional races generally went towards the Democrats. The 6th District went to Sean Casten over Republican incumbent Peter Roskam. Lauren Underwood came out over Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren in the 14th. These races were part of the Democrats retaking of the US House of Representatives. Illinois now has 13 Democratic and 5 Republican Congressional Representatives.
Even in the races they won, Republicans have reasons to be concerned. LaHood received 57,000 fewer votes in his rematch against Rodriguez than he did in 2016. Rodriguez’s total dropped just 3,000 votes. Davis faced a similar situation. Where the Democrats actually gained 5,000 votes in the 13th, Davis’ total declined by 52,000.
While a win is a win, even these high points of last night’s election should be worrying to the Illinois Republican Party.
Sales tax and township consolidation propositions pass
In addition to the candidates running for office, there were several questions on the ballot for voters in Sangamon County. One question was if Capital Township should be consolidated with Sangamon County. The other was if there should be a one percent sales tax to help schools pay for facility improvements.
Both questions passed. The township question passed handily with 75 percent of the vote. The sales tax was approved much more narrowly, 53 to 47 percent.
Because it was a non-binding question, the township vote will do nothing by itself. It will, however, strengthen the case for the county and township to consolidate.
The sales tax referendum was a binding question, and will go into effect July of 2019. It is expected to raise about $10 million for District 186, and another $10 million for other districts in Sangamon County.