The crowded Republican presidential field has prompted eight local residents, some with no political experience, to try and become delegates to this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Illinois delegates to the Republican and Democratic national conventions will be chosen in the March 15 primary. In Illinois, delegates are chosen from each Congressional district.
Many voters don’t realize that delegates must be voted for directly and that the results to the so-called statewide “beauty contest” in which people vote directly for the presidential candidates has no bearing on who is elected as a delegate to the Republican convention.
Delegates pledge their support to a particular presidential candidate, and that candidate is listed on the ballot after the delegate’s name.
The 4th Congressional District, which includes almost all of Brookfield and Riverside, will send three delegates to the Republican convention which will be held in July. In all, 26 candidates are vying for the trip to the convention from the 4th District.
Two of the local 4th District candidates running for delegate support Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Mike Dropka, the chairman of the Riverside Township Republican Organization is running as delegate pledged to Kasich. As a local party official, Dropka was recruited by a number of different presidential campaigns to run as a delegate.
“Ohio is a very much a swing state and needs be won in order to win the presidential election,” said Dropka who lives in North Riverside.
Another active member of the Riverside Township Republicans, Jesus “Jay” Reyes of Riverside, is also running as a Kasich delegate.
Not all members of the Riverside Township Republican organization are supporting Kasich.
Retired Cook County Circuit Court Judge Robert Boharic of Riverside is running as a Ted Cruz delegate. Boharic says that he supports the firebrand Texas senator because Cruz reminds him of Ronald Reagan.
“My favorite guy of all time in the Republican Party was Ronald Reagan,” said Boharic who lost a race for the Illinois Supreme Court to former Chicago mayor Michael Bilandic in 1990. “I think the person, in my view, who best meets that likeness to Reagan, in my opinion, is Ted Cruz.”
Boharic said that he is also impressed by Cruz’s intelligence and his skill as lawyer and debater.
Allison Ashby of Brookfield is also running as a Cruz delegate. Ashby, who is the great-granddaughter of the architect who designed the Riverside Township Hall, has never run for office before.
She said she decided to step out of her comfort zone because she is concerned about the direction of the country.
“I am just appalled at what is happening to this country, particularly fiscally, but also as far as our rights are concerned and I’m very upset that it’s happening on my watch,” Ashby said.
Eric Sawchuk of Brookfield is running as Donald Trump delegate.
“It seems the rest of the nation, is fed up with politics and business as usual,” said Sawchuk who served on the Brookfield village board in the 1990’s and more recently served as Proviso Township Collector from 2009 until the office was done away with in 2013.
Sawchuk, who now is vice president of the board of the Proviso Township Mental Health Center likes that Trump is not a career politician.
“He’s a businessman and in my view a businessman needs to run the country, because if this country was a business they would fire everybody; they would fire all the congressmen and all the senators,” Sawchuk said.
Anna Igoe of Riverside is running as a delegate pledged to Carly Fiorina, while Matthew Hickey, a criminal defense lawyer from North Riverside, is running for a delegate spot and is pledged to support New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Eight Republican candidates are running full delegate slates in the 4th District and two delegate candidates are supporting Rand Paul. However, no delegate candidates in the 4th Districts are pledged to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee or former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Restaurateur Michael LaPidus of Brookfield, who lost a close for Lyons Township Republican Committeeman to Tony Peraica in 2006, is running as a delegate pledged to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Brookfield south of Southview Avenue and the Lyons Township portion of Riverside.
No local Democrats are running for delegate spots this year.
This story has been changed to clarify that there are 26 Republican candidates running for delegate spots in the 4th District alone.