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GOP candidate for state treasurer emerges along with candidates for lieutenant governor

Chicago Tribune

Wednesday, January 12, 2022  |  Article  |  Rick Pearson

Candidates--Statewide (12)

State Rep. Tom Demmer of Dixon announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for state treasurer Tuesday, stressing his opposition to tax increases and a desire to bring greater transparency to state spending.

Demmer, a deputy GOP leader in the House who has served in the chamber since 2013, is the first Republican to announce for the post held by Democrat Michael Frerichs since 2015.

“Unfortunately, in Springfield right now, the politicians’ answer to every problem is higher taxes and more spending. We know Springfield politicians won’t change overnight, but we can take an important first step by electing a proven fiscal watchdog as state treasurer,” Demmer said in a statement.

Thursday is the first day for candidates to begin circulating petitions to appear on the June 28 primary ballot. Demmer has been the point person for House Republicans on state budget issues. In his announcement, he criticized Frerichs’ support for Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s effort to shift Illinois from a flat-rate income tax to a graduated-rate system — a move voters soundly rejected last November.As expected, Demmer also hit at a controversial remark Frerichs made in June 2020, when the state treasurer said adoption of the graduated-rate tax system could allow taxes on retirement income for those who could afford it. Illinois does not tax retirement income and Frerichs said later that he opposed creating such a tax.

“The vast majority of Illinoisans have not heard of Mike Frerichs but he stands tall among the tax-and-spend Springfield crowd. Throughout his 15 years as a Springfield politician, Mike Frerichs continually voted to raise taxes. And now, he even wants to tax retirement,” Demmer said.

Frerichs, who was a member of the legislature from 2007 until becoming state treasurer, said Demmer has voted against legislation backed by the treasurer’s office that requires insurance companies to review their records and governmental death records to ensure that they’ve paid death benefits to customers

“He does not have the conviction to fight for Illinois families and he does not have the backbone to stand up to special interests,” Frerichs said in a statement. He said Demmer’s record on issues surrounding the state treasurer’s office “proves he will side with Wall Street and big business and against working families.”

Meanwhile, in the Republican race for governor, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo selected as his running mate Carolyn Schofield, a member of the McHenry County Board who also serves on the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

“Illinois needs leaders that can bring us together and provide solutions. Anger and outrage are not going to solve our state’s problems,” Schimpf said in making the announcement in Crystal Lake.

“What we need is leaders that understand what it’s like to live day to day. Leaders that understand what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night wondering how you’re going to pay for your kids’ education, leaders that understand the challenges that people face in Illinois,” he said.

Schofield said Schimpf’s background in the military, as an attorney and in the state legislature, combined with her municipal experience, “makes us the best ticket for this race.”

“Illinois has been subjected to poor decisions and political dysfunction and Paul and I are pledging to work with varied viewpoints to help solve the state’s most pressing needs,” she said. “As a mother, an engineer, a cancer survivor and a volunteer, I am dedicated to public service fueled by my logic and my grit.”

Schofield has made twice made unsuccessful runs for a seat in the General Assembly.Another GOP candidate for governor, businessman Gary Rabine of Bull Valley, is set to formally announce Friday his choice of Aaron Del Mar, former Cook County GOP chair who serves as Palatine Township Republican chair, as a running mate.

Rabine has been a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and his continued leadership within the party. But Del Mar, who previously was an Illinois convention delegate for Trump, has criticized moves backed by the former president. He called the ousting of Wyoming U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from House GOP leadership over her opposition to Trump “shortsighted.”

In a May interview with WBEZ, he said Trump’s continued influence has made it more difficult to move forward with the Republican Party’s interests.

“It’s a challenge trying to get both sides of the party underneath the tent,” Del Mar said. “These fights that we have about a former president aren’t helping the situation by any means.”

“All of this sideshow-ness that we’ve had in the last four to six years, I don’t think it’s done us very well,” he said of Trump and Republicans. “I don’t think we’re better now than we were four years ago.”