Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mayor Rita Mullins "outgrows," Republican Party

Sparks are starting to fly in the 27th State Senate District, with long time, moderate Republican Palatine Mayor Rita Mullins bolting from her party, at least with respect to her endorsement of the Democrat, Peter Gutzmer [Hoffman Estates], in that race, over the Republican nominee, Matt Murphy [Palatine].

Standing by a parking meter, when I caught a glimpse of Rita.

No meter maid is this Rita, who has been Mayor of Palatine for the same time Mayor Daley has ruled over Chicago. “Most of my life I have been a party person,” said Mayor Mullins, “But I think I’ve grown to the position that my party has moved away from me.” [See today's Daley Herald]. Well, there has been movement in the distance between Rita and the Republican Party, but as to which is doing the moving, and as to which is in the mainstream of the Party, knowledgeable observers differ.

The Murphy forces say Rita’s endorsement of Gutzmer is sour grapes, with Murphy having spanked Mullins 60% to 40% in the March Primary for the state senate party nomination, in what people thought was going to be a close race. That made Mullins a “three time loser,” in her effort to be elected to a “larger,” public office.

And, there are long standing divisions among Palatine Republican Party activists between the [relatively] young Turks [led by Cook County GOP Chairman and Palatine Township Republican Committeeman Gary Skoien] and the old Guard including State Rep. Suzie Bassi [R-Palatine] and Mayor Mullins.

Although some say this fight is just more of the old moderate-conservative ideological division within the Republican Party, that can’t be the whole story, as Skoien, a Thompson-Edgar trained Republican with existing, good ties to both former Governors, can hardly be labeled as a down the line conservative Republican. On the other hand, conservative Pat Sutarik, supported by Skoien, came within 400 votes of knocking off moderate Bassi two years ago in the Republican Primary.

In any case, Team Gutzmer claims some other Republican pols in the district will follow Rita over to Pete Gutzmer, both formally and informally.

We had Matt Murphy on “Public Affairs,”this Spring[See here and links cited therein] and we are trying to put Murphy and Gutzmer together for a casual discussion of the issues on our TV show. Stay Tuned.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at