Chicago Republican committeemen vote to support Paul Vallas for mayor

Chicago -- On Sunday afternoon Chicago Republican ward committeemen gathered to hear from candidates for mayor who were seeking their endorsement and support. The committeemen voted to endorse as follows:

Paul Vallas - 16 committeemen
Willie WIlson - 9 committeemen
Garry McCarthy - 2 committeemen
Jerry Joyce - 1 committeeman
Declined to endorse - 3 committeemen

There are currently 38 active Republican ward organizations in the city. Not all were able to attend the meeting.

Committeemen voting for Vallas cited his strong knowledge of city government, personal honesty, willingness to take on corruption, and ability to tackle difficult budget problems.

Committeemen voting for Wilson cited his compelling personal story, success in business, outsider status, and ability to appeal to a broad swath of the city.

Republicans currently get approximately 20% of the vote in the City of Chicago in any competitive statewide race. The Republican vote in a Chicago municipal election is untested, though, because there hasn't been a strong Republican candidate for mayor in decades.

This year, however, Republicans are likely to have a significant impact, because there are 14 candidates in the race, with no single candidate polling over 15%. Top candidates are separated by only a few points. Republican voters could single-handedly get a candidate into the runoff.

"Candidates for mayor need to listen to us," said Cleveland. "In any election in which there are multiple competitive Democrats, we decide which one wins."

"If you think of us as a political party, we're not a very strong one," said Chris Cleveland, chairman of the Chicago GOP. "But if you think of us as an interest group, we're an 800 pound gorilla. Name another interest group that gets 20% of the vote. No one else comes close."

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