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Kadner: Bellar eyes challenge to Gorman

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Barbara Bellar

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Updated: December 18, 2013 6:33AM



Barbara Bellar, a darling of the tea party during an unsuccessful bid for a state Senate seat last year, now is planning to run for the Cook County Board against Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman.

Bellar, of Burr Ridge, has a website that touts her candidacy as a Republican for the 17th District board seat.

“I knew she was collecting nominating petitions,” Gorman, R-Orland Park, said. “I had seen her at various Republican events. She’s being backed by (county board of review Commissioner) Dan Patlak. I don’t know why she’s running against me.”

Patlak, also a Republican, once worked for Gorman when she was chairman of the county Republican Party in 2007.

“I am not supporting any candidate in the 17th District,” Patlak told me. “I did not in any way encourage Bellar to run. She called me and asked for my support.”

Bellar became a YouTube sensation last year when she was recorded summarizing Obamacare during a campaign appearance in the following manner:

“We are going to be gifted with a health care plan that we are forced to purchase, and fined if we don’t, signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese and financed by a country that’s broke.”

I wrote a column about Bellar during last fall’s election season because on her campaign literature and website she used the slogan there’s “Nun Better,” a reference to claims she made repeatedly in pubic that she had been a Catholic nun.

But when I checked into her background, I discovered that Bellar had only been a postulant in the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago and could find no evidence that she ever took vows of fidelity and obedience.

Bellar refused to answer my repeated inquiries about the discrepancy between her campaign claims and information provided by the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago.

This time around, Bellar makes no reference to being a nun on her website, although she does tout the fact that she holds degrees in law and medicine.

Bellar makes no direct attacks on Gorman’s record on her website, instead listing her own positions a “resolute commitment to conservative values,” “opposed to new taxes” and supports repealing the tax hike.”

When I read that last statement to Gorman on the phone, she said, “I don’t know what she’s talking about that because the tax hike has been repealed.”

That’s a reference to a 1 percent sales tax increase imposed during the administration of county board President Todd Stroger in 2008, eventually rolled back by the board and eliminated under the administration of board President Tony Preckwinkle. Preckwinkle defeated Stroger in the 2010 primary election, promising to eliminate the sales tax hike if elected.

Gorman said she believes Patlak is behind the Bellar candidacy because “he’s been dragging her around to various party events.” She said Bellar showed up this fall with Patlak at a Republican dinner in Oak Brook and refused to take a seat “because she wasn’t introduced.’

“She stood in a corner and eventually had her dinner wrapped up to go. It was very strange,” Gorman said.

I tried to contact Bellar for this column but was unsuccessful.

As for Patlak, Gorman said he served as her executive director when she was chairman of the county Republican Party.

“He was down on his luck so I gave him a job,” she said. “I think he was a pizza delivery guy at the time, and there’s honor in that as with any job. He was just having a hard time, and I gave him a job and you would think he would be grateful.”

Patlak remembers it somewhat differently.

“I had been working for Maureen Murphy (a former Republican member of the county board of review), and when she lost her election, I think that was 2006, I worked at a number of different jobs.

“Gorman hired me at Maureen Murphy’s request, and I only worked for her for three or four months. And I believe my salary at the time was paid for by Maureen out of her campaign fund. So if Gorman is suggesting she did me some kind of favor ...

“She let me go because she said she found someone else who was better at fundraising, but she got rid of him about three months later. I guess he didn’t do such a good job.”

Gorman said if Bellar does run in the GOP primary in March, she will do so without the support of local mayors or Republican committeemen.

“I have the support of all the mayors in the district and the township committeemen from Palos, Lemont, Lyons, Proviso, Leyden (townships), all of them,” said Gorman, who’s also the GOP committeeman of Orland Township. “I have no idea where Bellar is getting her support or her campaign money.”

The county board’s 17th District runs from the north suburbs (Mount Prospect, Elk Grove Village, Northlake, Rosemont, Bensenville, Elk Grove Village) through the west suburbs and down south to Lemont, Orland Park, Orland Hills, Palos Hills, Tinley Park, Palos Park and Palos Heights.

“I think the last thing we need next year is a divisive intraparty fight for the Cook County Board,” Gorman said. “We should be uniting behind a candidate for governor.”

Patlak told me pretty much the same thing.

“I am not supporting anyone in the 17th District because I think we need to be united going into the governor’s race and support the Republican candidate,” he said.

However, he also indicated that he thought Bellar had shown a lack of interest in running for office in recent days.

“She just hasn’t been very active, and I haven’t seen her at many events,” he said.

“She’s a very strange person,” Gorman said of Bellar. “Maybe Patlak finally figured that out.”



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