Democrats playing dirty tricks in Illinois

In two stories at Ballot Access News, Richard Winger covers efforts by Democrats in Illinois to run against Tom Tressler in the Green Party primary in Tressler’s bid to win the nomination for President of the Cook County Board, and to keep Green Bill Scheurer from running for Congress on the Green Party line.

In the Tom Tressler case, a person listed as a leader of the Young Democrats has filled out paperwork to run in the Green Party primary against Tressler. When Illinois Greens attempted to contact the Democrat they got no response. Ballot Access News links to this NBC News story about the situation.

In the Bill Scheurer case, the Democratic Party is simply taking the low road by challenging his petitions to appear on the ballot in the Green Party primary. Because the Democratic dominated state legislature has ended a policy of long standing that allows party officials to nominate candidates in races where no candidate filed to run in the primary, a system called “slating”, the Illinois Greens will have no candidate in that congressional race should the petition challenge succeed.

The Democratic Party pulled this same sort of anti-democratic stunt a few years back when they advised Scheurer to hire a ballot access team that planned to sabotage his petitioning effort. Scheurer sued in that case. The current effort to keep him off the ballot is covered at the Daily Herald.

Green Party Watch News Network

Green activists reporting on Green Party candidates, chapters, committees and issues.


  1. Interesting story.

    When I mentioned it to Ian, he came up with one of the Suffolk Green Party’s famous and creative political strategy ideas:

    We should use Sean Burke as a poster boy for Democrats who realize they should switch green.

    Think of the press release, “Former Young Democrat rejects the Democratic Party and switches to Green. Young people are so disenchanted with the old party of the left, the Democrats can’t hang on to them…”

    We almost had to do a similar strategy in Suffolk. A conservative judge was playing a maneuver to get on the Green Party line. One of our responses was going to be, that if he won, we would put up signs around town that would embarass him to pieces. Such as “Candidate for Judge XXXX and the Green Party want to legalize marijuana.” And, even wilder platform ideas that people would not want to feature in signs in suburban Long Island. (This idea largely came from our then-college folks, Wendy and Walter)

    It turned out back then that we won in the primary (our own primary) by doing a write-in against him. So, we did not have to apply the strategy above…

  2. At first this struck me as a strange way to try and mess up Tom Tresser’s campaign. A young Democrat enters the race without even bothering to get in touch with the Green Party – how does he expect to block Tresser from getting the nomination? Then I realized that they could register a few hundred Democrats as Greens with the intention of throwing the Green nomination to the stalking horse Burke, thereby removing an appealing Green candidate from the race for Cook County Board President.

    Careful, I hear that no one does dirt like the Cook County Democratic Machine…

  3. Folks

    When I ran as a Green for state rep in District 44A in St Louis Park, Minnesota, this is exactly what happened in our race.

    I had obtained the GP endorsement, then suddenly out of no where appeared the former mayor of the town. He challenged me to a primary race. He won. He then ran a very sloppy campaign.

    This was the ONLY primary challenge that the Green Party had in Minnesota 2002.

    We had 44 campaigns statewide in that year.

    Now, well it is just a bit different.

  4. Really kind of stupid move on the part of the Cook County Dems, if anything this might bring the Green party more attention in the primary. Normally the Cook County Dems should be able to win the county board President office pretty easily. The only thing I can think of is that they are worried that if Stroger makes it through the primary that voters disaffiliation with him is high enough that an active Green candidate could throw the election to the GOP.

  5. Does the GOP get many votes in Cook County? I was under the impression that when Republicans do well there, it’s largely due to a ‘protest vote’ (so to speak) against corrupt Dems. Tresser could present himself as a more viable alternative to voters who don’t want a corrupt machine Democrat in power, since Republicans have their own baggage and can’t win against the likes of Blagojevich even with loads of money.

  6. The city of Chicago and Cook are dominated by the Democrats, but that being said the Republican do get a fair amounts of votes of Cook county, particularly the parts that are not Chicago. Cook County has a pretty solid conservative Republican leaning voting block of around half million voters. For instance even though the Democrats have handled carried Cook in Presidential elections, the GOP candidate usual pull in at least 500,000 – 600,000 votes each time.

    I would point out in the 2006 Governors race the Illinois GOP did not have loads of money relatively to Blago, Blago heavily out spent Judy Bar Topkina who had a number of problems of her own, she never could unit her base, connections to Governor Ryan, general dislike of President Bush, ect.

    Another reason that Dems might want Tresser off the ballot is the fear that an active Green party candidate for Cook County President could pull voters off from the Dem line to the Green line in other state wide race, particular US. Senate, where in most pulls the leading Dem and GOP candidate has it either as dead heat or the Kirk, a GOP congressmen, up by up to 6 points and the Governors race where neither Pat Quin or Comptroller Hynes are particular strong candidates.

  7. Locally the Dem probably are justified in fearing a an active Green party candidate could affect there chance of winning of the Cook County Board President if Stroger wins the primary. In 2006 he won by about 55-45 against a pretty weak GOP candidate and now there is a lot more resentment and anger on the part of the Cook County voters against little Stroger than there was in 06.

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