2 allege Johnson's withdrawal was orchestrated

2 allege Johnson's withdrawal was orchestrated

BLOOMINGTON — Two of the Republicans looking to replace U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson in Congress don't like the way he pulled out of his re-election race, and believe his decision was orchestrated to benefit his former chief of staff, Jerry Clarke.

Johnson announced on April 5, about two weeks after he won the 13th Congressional District primary election, that he would not run for a seventh term in Congress. Clarke said that day that he was interested in replacing Johnson and that he had already begun calling the county chairmen who will make the appointment.

"It's not right. This is not right," said state Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, who told a Republican luncheon gathering in Bloomington that he is interested in the congressional seat. "You know what's really insulting about this? It didn't just happen. There was talk of this happening a year ago, and it's a real insult to the people. Like I said, their vote was taken away from them.

"I think we're used to politics as usual. The politics as usual is that you manipulate the system to put certain people in positions of power. That's not the way it ought to be. The people should decide who is going to be speaking for them. Remember, this power that (politicians) have, they don't own it. It's only borrowed from the people who elect them. We forget that. But when you have people in back rooms who decide they are going to put in place who they want so that they can control them and they can control what happens in this country, that's wrong."

McCarter said the county chairmen should slow down the process to appoint Johnson's replacement.

"We need to see who would represent the people best, not what person was decided in a back room deal who was going to get the job," said the one-term state senator, who lives in the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis. "This heir-to-the-throne idea in politics, I don't care what party you're in, it's wrong. It's an injustice and it doesn't work because ultimately, when you get that person in there, they don't serve us well."

Asked who benefited from Johnson's sudden retirement announcement, McCarter pointed to Clarke.

"There was definitely a favorite," McCarter said. "I think Jerry obviously had the inside knowledge about what was happening. But as long as the process slows down and everyone is vetted, if Jerry Clarke ends up being the choice of the chairmen, I'll be behind them. I'm trusting the chairmen to do their job."

Sam Spradlin, a Springfield truck driver who also wants to be considered by the GOP county chairmen, said Monday that "this feels like a hand-me-down to Jerry Clarke."

Spradlin originally had planned to challenge Johnson in the March 20 primary, then pulled out of the race.

"Tim knew he was going to quit the race before the primary. He knew ahead of time," Spradlin charged. "If they give this to Clarke, it's a travesty."

Spradlin also made his views known in a 5-minute video he posted Sunday on You Tube. In it he predicted that if county chairmen choose Clarke, "you will have a mutiny on your hands."

He said that "a lot of Republicans are crying foul that Tim ignored the primary process" and charged that this "seems like something that Rod Blagojevich would do."

Meanwhile, McCarter said he believes he has about a week to decide if he will be a candidate for appointment as the party's nominee.

"I feel like I'm being effective where I'm at. I don't want to force myself into a higher position even though I'm able to do it and I could do it," he said. "I want to do what is right. I don't want to be impatient. I want to be where God wants me to be, and that's all there is to it."

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sameeker wrote on April 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

Nobody should ever be "appointed" to run. If a candidate drops out after the primary, the person who came in second should automaticly become the candidate. The repugs are quite fond of appointing people, even presidents.

cbrads334 wrote on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 am
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They just did the exact same thing to Stephanie Holderfield.

It does seem that corruption runs deep in the local GOP--  no surprise.

I'm glad I don't vote for those crooks.

thelowedown wrote on April 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

The local GOP in the circuit clerk race and the county GOP organizations are following the legal process for selecting a candidate who declines the nomination. Read it, "legal process." Quit whining.

formerrepublican wrote on April 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm

If the "legal process" was followed, Stephanie Holderfield would have been certified the winner.  The "law" requires that votes cast for non-candidates are not counted.  The "law" requires that voters be notified of errors in the ballot, such as those caused by a candidate withdrawing from the race legally.  The "law" requires Stephanie Holderfield to be declared the nominee.


Instead, the corrupt Republicans in their mad request for power have cast aside the law and 100 years of election precedent to come up with their own interpretation of what should have been done, then the party "leaders" began threatening everyone in the room to fall in line.


When Tim Johnson calls to yell at precinct committeemen to fall in line, let's call this what it is... a rigged election and rampant corruption.


Tell me, why do the 16,000 some odd Republican primary voters not get a say in this?  Why should they have some candidate they've never seen be forced down their throats as the nominee?


Because the corrupt party leaders say so.  Nothing has changed since George Ryan went to prison.

Mark Taylor wrote on April 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm

These rhinos have got to go.  We need to get some real TEA PARTY PATRIOTIC REAL AMERICANS to become precinct committeemen and we need to take over the local GOP from the Obama loving ELITISTS who have taken the vote away from WE THE PEOPLE! 

If REAL CONSERVATIVES take back the GOP from the comsymps, we won't ever have to bend our knees to our former rhino overlords again. And it begins here locally. We need TRUE CONSERVATIVES to contest every vote for office and WITHIN the party. I know it's a lot more easier to protest by staying home and not voting. But instead we need to fight for the party from the inside. RIGHTWARD, HO!!!

Who's with me?

spangwurfelt wrote on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

"Who's with me?"

Virtually no one.

Dann001 wrote on April 19, 2012 at 3:04 am

"More Easier" is enough to disregard your comment!

ericbussell wrote on April 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

The State Board of Elections advised Hulten to consult with the State's Attorney (Julia Reitz).  Julia Reitz advised him that he should count Winkel's votes.  His job is to simply count the votes and report the results. 

The law is definately not clear and it would be nice if lawmakers clarified things for future elections. 

"Tell me, why do the 16,000 some odd Republican primary voters not get a say in this?"

Technically, the majority of them voted for Winkel.  When Winkel declined the nomination, it created a vacancy.  By law, the elected precinct committeemen choose the nominee in this situation.  I think everyone would prefer a special election so the voters directly choose, but the allegations of corruption are not valid.  Wouldn't it have been more corrupt to ingore the law and ingore the advice of the State's Attorney? 

 

Mark Taylor wrote on April 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm

It's corrupt because the voice of WE THE PEOPLE is being ignored. The vote should go to the person with the next most votes. Instead, we have back room sweetheart deals and cronyism of the first magnitude. Do you think we're dumb enough to believe that it's just happen stance that the people put in the place of the drop outs are ESTABLISHMENT RHINOS chosen by the cadre of party insiders? WE'RE NOT THAT STUPID!

I've never voted Democrat in my life. But in these two cases it might be the best option. A real Democrat might be better than a Democrat lite rhino party operative crony that never even signed up for the primary. If they're so interested in the position, why couldn't they do the hard work of gathering signatures and getting to know the voters in the primary? 

What are primaries even for, anyway if we ignore them?

thelowedown wrote on April 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm

What is the rule of law even for if crazies will whine and cry about it when it is followed?

 

Maybe if you want more control over your party get off your butt and run for something...like precinct committeman! Or, lobby your legislators to change the election law! I hope you're willing to pay more taxes in order to support all the special elections you want to have!

ericbussell wrote on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

"Do you think we're dumb enough to believe that it's just happen stance that the people put in the place of the drop outs are ESTABLISHMENT RHINOS chosen by the cadre of party insiders?"

Are you suggesting that Katie Blakeman is a rhinoceros?    

Mark Taylor wrote on April 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm

When did I ever say that? She's a Republican in name only, something the "kewl kidz" (Internet speak) call a rhino (I'm not sure why, exactly). She is an elitist insider establishment party cadre. 

Im so sick of establishment Republicans mocking WE THE PEOPLE who voted FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Who do you think you are to disregard us? The TEA Party rose up to resist the establishment elites telling us they are our "betters" and that they know best. Well, guess what? The people know best and we know when we see an insider corrupt deal. Spin it as much as you want. Mock us as much as you want. But well remember you dirision when we go inside the election booth!

just_wondering wrote on April 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

Duh. Don't be so naive.

jthartke wrote on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 am

Perhaps the best way of choosing a candidate is to have legitimate primaries so the people have a choice.  Oh...right....

rsp wrote on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 am

Clarke said that day that he was interested in replacing Johnson and that he had already begun calling the county chairmen who will make the appointment.

Isn't that pretty much an admission? It seems like they think it's their seat to pass down to the next person, "Johnson's" seat or when the former governor tried to sell "Obama's" seat but those seats belong to the people. The people sitting in them are working for us. They are our employees. Not our superiors. They are not there to make our lives more difficult, to line their pockets or put their friends on the payroll. A republican does not represent the party and a democrat does not represent the party. If that's all they are doing in office and causing gridlock they are not upholding their oath of office. A lot of people need to be fired. 

UIUCHoopFan wrote on April 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

And to think my first reaction to the news of Johnson's withdrawal from politics was his inability to face pending loss in November to David Gill as a result of the redistricting.......I was so totally wrong............

Politics in Illinois.....business as usual !

Spence wrote on April 18, 2012 at 9:04 am
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David Gill couldn't beat Tim Johnson in an election even if Gill's mother was the only one voting.

scollins4443 wrote on April 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm
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Not as bad as what Blogeshvic done but it's equivelent to it. Rotten politics is what's happeneing to our country and it needs to stop. Johnson's a decent man and I am a Democrat who loves a square shooter!

Sid Saltfork wrote on April 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm

It's Illinois....   We don't have our reputation for corruption for nothing.  If we are not #1 in the nation for political corruption, only New Jersey could have a higher ranking.

Commonsenseman wrote on April 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Who cares if he  orchestrated it to help his  colleague, isnt that what normal people do? Most of you people screaming the loudest are democrats who wont be voting for them anyway, hypocritical of you to put on a show of fake indignation.  As far as i'm concerned anyone who will help stop this socialist administation is fine by me.  

rsp wrote on April 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Isn't part of socialism that you help your comrades I mean colleagues get jobs? It's good to know the party bosses, isn't it?

Sid Saltfork wrote on April 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Facism hates socialism; and socialism hates facism.   One owns the cow, and charges outrageous prices for the milk while taking government subsidies.  The other gives the milk away, and goes broke.  The rest of us are just the cow.

thelowedown wrote on April 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I think you all have gross misconceptions of fascism and socialism as political ideologies.

rsp wrote on April 18, 2012 at 12:04 am

Or you have gross misconceptions of sarcasm

alabaster jones 71 wrote on April 18, 2012 at 4:04 am
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If Mr. McCarter's accusations are correct, the voters in this district have every right to be angry since they were essentially denied their chance to choose the nominee to replace Johnson.

This practice is a well-worn tactic in the history of Illinois political corruption, unfortunately.  A few years ago, congressman Bill Lipinski in Chicago resigned after he won the primary so party insiders could pick his son to replace him, even though his son had been living in Tennessee for several years as a college professor.

I was amused by Spradlin's comments, and by the fact that they were included in this article in the first place.  He dropped out of the primary and now he wants the nomination?  He says a "mutiny" will occur if Clarke is chosen.  There may be outrage, but of course not nearly as much as there would be if they chose someone as unqualified as Mr. Spradlin.  How about a press conference instead of a 5 minute YouTube video if you want to be picked to run for Congress?

 

Tutone wrote on April 18, 2012 at 8:04 am

for those complaining how the GOP is handling this where is your concern about Derrick Smith who was arrested for accepting a bribe but won his primary?  he is a democrat from Chicago.  The Dem Party left him in the race so they could name his replacement. 

rsp wrote on April 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

The Party didn't leave him in. He stayed in. The party has asked him to resign, take his name off the ballot, etc. The party isn't in charge of the ballot. Or him. But he can use his position to reduce any sentence he gets. In other words, he can negotiate with a prosecutor to give up the seat for having the charges dropped. If he resigns now he could go to jail. His voters must be thinking he's innocent until he's proven guilty. You remember that part of the law right?

wayward wrote on April 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Yeah, in that race, the voters had the opportunity to kick him to the curb and didn't.

rsp wrote on April 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

And why they didn't I don't know. But that's Chicago. Lot of people I'd like them to get rid of up there.

Tutone wrote on April 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm

innocent until proven guilty?  that is quite a concept.  is that why he is free today, until his trial, but yet others, say george zimmerman for example, is in jail until his trial?  is he guilty until proven innocent?  so, you are saying because  smith is an elected official he can use his position of power to reduce his sentence?   point was smith was caught and charged he should have been dropped from the ballot, period.  if, he is found innocent he could always run again another time. 

rsp wrote on April 19, 2012 at 2:04 am

Are you equating bribery with murder? Just asking. Smith may have been charged but that isn't the same as convicted. Our legal system is founded of the concept of innocent until proven guilty. There are some other countries where it is the opposite. Now suppose his opponent really wanted to win, and set him up to make it look like he took a bribe but it didn't happen. But he was charged anyway. Should he still be kicked off the ballot? Because stuff like that used to happen. And the one who framed him would still be on the ballot. Now when one is charged with murder, especially after confessing to it, one does not get bail in most circumstances. So Zimmerman will be staying in jail. And Smith, if guilty will try to use his position to reduce his sentence. They have been doing it. "To save the taxpayers money." I would rather see them get extra time and spend the cash. 

Tutone wrote on April 22, 2012 at 6:04 am

no, i am comparing both as potential felonies.  i do notice how you take one stance on one subject then the about face on the other.  your preconceived notions are showing.  you say smith is innocent until proven guilty and should be allowed to go on with life until a trial.  yet on the other had you say zimmerman admitted to murdering martin and will be staying in jail.  i beg to differ.  zimmerman admitting to killing martin but he did not say he murdered him.  admitting to murder would damage his claim of self defense.  i still say an elected official should be removed from office until the outcome is decided.  as for your arguement of false charges can you see how that could be politcal suicide?  not to mention the libel/slander aspect of it.  there is enough made up manure in campaigning by both parties as it is. 

Tutone wrote on April 18, 2012 at 8:04 am

for those complaining how the GOP is handling this where is your concern about Derrick Smith who was arrested for accepting a bribe but won his primary?  he is a democrat from Chicago.  The Dem Party left him in the race so they could name his replacement. 

LincolnLounger wrote on April 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

I absolutely LOVE that Kyle McCarter, who was appointed to his Senate seat to replace Frank Watson by those evil Republican RINO county chairmen, is now alleging insider corruption.

Breathtaking.

Spence wrote on April 18, 2012 at 9:04 am
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You have to be kidding. Frank Watson had a stroke and was unable to continue. That's why McCarter was appointed. Or do you think Watson had a stroke just so they could appoint McCarter?