Kadner: He claims GOP endorsement was ‘rigged’
By Phil Kadner email@example.com January 8, 2014 8:06PM
William Kelly, a conservative political blogger, contends he has been threatened for revealing that southwest suburban GOP committeemen orchestrated the Cook County Republican Party's endorsement of Bruce Rauner for governor. | Supplied photo
Updated: February 10, 2014 11:51AM
A conservative blogger and political activist is accusing two Southland Republican committeemen of “rigging” the Cook County GOP’s endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.
In addition, William Kelly, in an emailed “affidavit” contends that he was threatened by Jerry Gorman, husband of Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman, R-Orland Park, the Orland Township Republican committeewoman.
“He claims I sent him text messages and spent 20 minutes on the phone with him on Dec. 20,” Jerry Gorman told me in a telephone conversation. “I will turn my phone over to the SouthtownStar for a forensic audit to demonstrate that is not true.”
Gorman said he’s exploring a possible libel lawsuit against Kelly.
Kelly states in his email and on his blog that on Dec. 20 he posted a comment on Capitol Fax, a widely read website on Illinois politics, that Palos Township GOP Committeeman Sean Morrison had told him that Rauner would get the Cook County organization’s endorsement.
As a result, that same day, Kelly says, Jerry Gorman called him in response to the Capitol Fax post and said, “Liz and Sean are very, very, very tight with Bruce Rauner. Bruce Rauner is going to win this election for governor and when he does Liz and Sean are going to be dividing up the jobs and the contracts.
“Now you can be on the inside of that or you can be on the outside of that. Do you want me to set up a meeting with you with Bruce Rauner so you can arrange a deal? I think you will discover he’s not who you think he is. I know that you have a problem with Bruce Rauner because he is close friends with Rahm Emanuel.”
Kelly said he does have a problem with Rauner because of his close association with Chicago’s mayor.
Rauner obtained the Cook County GOP’s endorsement on Dec. 21, one day after Kelly posted on the Capitol Fax website.
“It’s no secret I was supporting Bruce Rauner and urging all my fellow committeemen to support him,” said Morrison, deputy chairman of the Cook County Republican Party. “But I would never make such a prediction prior to the vote nor did I make any such statements to Mr. Kelly.
“How do I respond to something that’s insane?” Morrison said when I asked him to comment on Kelly’s “affidavit.” “I had been telling people for 21/2 to three months that I was going to support Bruce Rauner for governor and was urging everyone else in the party to support him.
“But to claim that Liz Gorman and I are going to be splitting up the patronage if he’s elected ... who are we? We don’t have that kind of influence.”
Kelly, who owns a TV production company and hosts a show called “Power Play” on CLTV, accused Rauner of “pay-for-play politics.”
“The Cook County Republican Party endorsed him because he has contributed a lot of money to various organizations and campaigns, and they’re hoping he will finance campaign literature supporting the Cook County Republican Party ticket,” Kelly contends.
“George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich got into a lot of trouble for pay-to-play politics, and I often wondered why nobody said anything before they were elected, or indicted or convicted. I just felt that since I knew about what was happening with Bruce Rauner and the Cook County Republican Party endorsement I should say something.”
Morrison told me he has received no promises of financial support from Rauner but made no apologies for backing someone who “can win the November election” and “help the rest of the Republican Party in the process.”
Morrison reminded me of a conversation we had a number of years ago where I noted that the Cook County Republican Party had been ineffective and he vowed to change that.
“That’s why I supported the endorsement process,” he said. “The Cook County Republican Party hadn’t endorsed candidates pre-primary in 25 years, while the Cook County Democratic Party has endorsed every two years.
“That’s what political parties ought to be doing. You should be choosing the best candidates and urging your members to support them.”
That makes sense to me.
And since Rauner is a billionaire, it seems logical that Cook County Republicans would hope he would throw some cash their way to support other candidates in the general election.
Kelly contends that he is not receiving money from, nor supporting, any of the other Republican candidates for governor.
But I had been told about a month ago by one of Rauner’s opponents that polls of likely GOP voters indicated that Rauner’s close relationship with Emanuel would eventually turn a majority of Republicans against him.
“I don’t think it would matter to most Republicans who Rauner is friends with or who he supported financially in the past,” Morrison said. “I think voters will be most concerned about electing someone who can solve the problems of this state and prevent a financial disaster.”
Elizabeth Gorman, like Morrison, said she has backed Rauner’s campaign for months and urged others in the party to support him. She claims that her husband never issued any threats or ultimatums to Kelly if he continued his attacks on Rauner.
“The man’s a flake and a crackpot,” Gorman said of Kelly. “Do you have to respond to every accusation made by people who have no credibility?”
She noted that Kelly caused a disturbance at an Emanuel news conference a few years ago, claiming he was a WIND Radio reporter when he was not an employee of the station but bought air time for his show.
There are some who claim that Kelly is criticizing Rauner in an attempt to get Rauner to hire his TV production company for political work.
“I’m speaking the truth at great personal cost,” Kelly said. “My business has suffered. I am just trying to do the right thing.”