Glad you asked! With less than two weeks left in the campaign, I figured now would be a good time to sum up everything we’ve been going through since being confirmed on the ballot. Keep in mind that there WILL be an official Election Night Party at the American Tap @ 701 W. Lake St. in Addison, IL starting around 6pm and going all night, and everyone is welcome to stop by and chat with us and our candidates.
The Chicago Tribune held their usual round of endorsement interviews with the two-party candidates for each office. While the Libertarian party candidates were not invited to participate along with their 2-party counterparts, we did manage to sneak our way into a couple editorial board reviews. Candidate for Governor Chad Grimm spent a good 45 minutes with the editorial board in the Tribune Tower answering questions on everything from gun control, to health care, to the pension crisis.
A few days later, we managed to get another solid 90 minutes to be split up between three more candidates; Julie Fox for Comptroller, Chris Michel for Secretary of State and Ben Koyl for Attorney General. Julie talked about her experience as an accountant and controller in the private sector making her more than qualified for her office, Chris discussed his ideas on lightening the load for business owners and future entrepreneurs in Illinois to get through red tape, and Ben brought in printouts of the Attorney General’s budget with his own ideas for how to save money while redirecting the efforts of the AG office into a libertarian approach for justice.
Despite our efforts, we didn’t snag any of the endorsements, but that wasn’t entirely the goal; the goal was to be included and to be set on equal ground with the other parties. On a side note, Julie Fox did get a VERY honorable mention from the Chicago tribune about her qualifications, despite not getting the endorsement, which is a huge victory in itself.
Julie Fox also did some radio ads for AM560 in Chicago and the suburbs, and has moved a huge effort to deliver campaign materials door-to-door in the suburban towns. She also snatched up an endorsement from radio personality and former Congressman Joe Walsh, and the Illinois Herald. Go Julie!!
Other candidates kept themselves busy, including Matthew Skopek for Treasurer, who hosted a fundraiser at the Village Tavern and Grill in Schaumburg to help raise money for Libertarian yard signs that can be used well after this election cycle.
Matthew also traveled to East St. Louis with Ben Koyl, Chris Michel and me (I’ve been at almost all of these events, really) to take part in a candidate forum hosted by the NAACP East St. Louis Branch, the Pan Hellenic council of East St. Louis, and the New Life Community Church. No other candidates from the other major parties attended, so our Libertarian candidates had a good opportunity to explain our philosophy and demonstrate our ideas to people in Central Illinois.
The Fall Festival in Mt. Vernon in Southern Illinois was also attended by Chris, Ben, and Matt as well as Lt. Governor candidate Dr. AJ Cummings. The candidates were incredibly well received by almost everyone in attendance, who were thrilled that statewide candidates running for office would come down that far to visit and talk with them. They were cheered in the parade that they marched in, they were approached at their booth, hosted by the new Southern Illinois Libertarian Party, and even later in the evening discussed politics at the local taverns in town with voters. The folks in Southern Illinois were happy to have statewide candidates visit them and discuss their concerns, and our candidates were excited to take part in their events and to listen to the people who are often overshadowed by Springfield and Chicago. Kudos to the volunteers in the Southern Illinois Libertarian Party for getting organized so quickly!
Grundee County’s annual Cornfest is always a big hit, and we joined in on the CornFest parade which draws over ten thousand people every year. Hosted in Morris, IL right off of the highway, candidates Matthew Skopek, Chris Michel, Ben Koyl and Sharon Hansen candidate for US Senate joined the DuPage Libertarians along with members from both the Will County and Lake County chapters.
A few high schools were also visited by Libertarians. Chad Grimm, joined briefly by his Lt. Governor candidate Dr. AJ Cummings, spoke all day long to history and social studies classes at Jacob High School in Algonquin, while I, Brian Lambrecht, Chair of the DuPage Libertarians, spoke to a few AP Political Science classes up in Mundelein. I spoke to high school kids about politics, and the hypocrisy, cronyism and failures among the two parties – and they loved it. They asked questions, and they engaged me in discussion.
The kids admitted that they don’t know much about how things work in the political world, and they were admittedly cynical about it. Even the 18 year olds said they don’t want to vote because they don’t trust anyone (though I think I secured their vote). I openly told them that “hey, don’t ever trust someone in politics – not even me. Hold me accountable.” Kids know when they are being lied to, as opposed to most adults, who can watch a speech full of lies and passionately re-post it while talking about how great the person is lying to them. I didn’t even have to spend much time talking about libertarians; I spent most of it talking about how politics exists today. I related it to them, their personal lives and framed it in a way so they could see and understand it. I made them laugh repeatedly because the stupidity and corruption is so obvious that they couldn’t help but laugh.
Kids really are the future, because you can help them open their minds and keep it open before some useless political hack comes along and welds it shut for them for the rest of their lives. Not on my watch. This was one of the greatest moments of this year for me, and I didn’t have anyone with me to grab a photo.
I also did an interview for CLTV about our ballot access struggle and managed to sneak in mentioning in the names of all 7 of our statewide candidates. You can see the video at the link HERE. Chad also did some interviews for the Sun-Times, FOX News, WGN, and CLTV. Other candidates appeared at the Junior League of Chicago candidate forum and the SWAN candidate forum in Elgin.
In a nutshell, for a group of independent-minded libertarians who don’t have many resources to exploit, a small group of volunteers and not much money (despite Chad Grimm getting some big bucks for his particular campaign) we’ve done extremely well. Regardless of how everything turns out on Election Day, every Libertarian in the state of Illinois has something to celebrate. And if you are an active member of the state party, you should bask in the glow of all the great accomplishments we’ve made so far, and what there is to come. This Election Day isn’t the end – not by a longshot. Once we get past November 4th, the time begins to immediately start planning for next year, the year after that and the year after that.
We will not slow down and we will not lag behind. We’ve learned too many great tactics, indulged in great experiences, and gained a lot of ground. To everyone in the Libertarian Party of Illinois and all her Chapters around the state, you have great reason to celebrate. And don’t forget – you can celebrate with us on Election Day at the American Tap @ 701 W. Lake St. in Addison IL starting at roughly 6pm throughout the night. Stop by and celebrate with us.
And for the rest of you who aren’t members… what are you waiting for?!? We have such BIG plans for 2015, so jump on it and GET INVOLVED!!