After he said delegates were "robbed of their opportunity to vote" during the in , William "Bill" Kelly insisted that they get their $50 ticket entry fee back.
"Rarely in life do we actually say what we mean because we are afraid of what we might lose," Kelly said before an election committee Friday afternoon. "But we have lost too much already and we are on the brink of losing it all. … The Illinois Republican party is a joke."
Kelly, a Beverly native now living in the Streeterville neighborhood in Chicago, faced off over the weekend against two others, incumbent Rich Williamson and Alexander "Sandy" Stuart, for the title of Republican National Committeeman for Illinois. Appointed to the countering committeewoman slot in January 2011, Demetra DeMonte ran unopposed.
A 19-person convention committee was tasked Friday with recommending one of the three to present to all delegates on Saturday for a final vote. They favored Rich Williamson in a 10-9 vote that included Stuart but not Kelly.
Delegates were then presented with Williamson's name Saturday for a "yes" or "no" voice vote. Although the crowd sounded a bit mixed on the matter, a party leader announced "the ayes have it" and no roll call vote was taken.
Kelly didn't understand why the 19-person election committee was involved in the process in the first place, he said, noting that to turn the Republican reputation around, "we need to give the party back to the people." He encouraged election committee members to send all three names to the delegates.
"Why do we continue to deny Republican primary voters the basic right to vote?" he said. "How can they trust their party if their party does not trust them?"
His opponents didn't respond when Kelly asked them if they would allow all three names to be submitted. Election committee members insisted the recommendation of one name was the process they were required to follow.
Alexander “Sandy” Stuart, didn't even reference the issue in his campaign speech. A fundraiser for the Illinois GOP, he instead reminded delegates that his focus has always been on restoring Republican power in Illinois.
"When we lost the governor's mansion in 2010 and after recognizing what a tough map, the federal map, that the Democrats have drawn for raw partisan gain, I joined a group of Republican leaders … to form a fair and balanced map committee," Stuart said, of his resume, also citing fundraising efforts along the way.
Lionel Garcia, 16th ward committeeman, criticized Stuart's donations over the years to Planned Parenthood, saying that the organization is known for giving money to the Democratic Party.
Stuart said his sister works for Planned Parenthood and reminded delegates that his donations to the Republican Party over the years have far surpassed those to the "right to choose" group.
Williamson has been National Committeman for about two years, he said. After referencing his successful "victory phone banks" in which Republicans called homes to solicit donations, Williamson was criticized for his "lack of direct fundraising."
"I've contributed a couple thousand dollars," Williamson said. "I have not had a fundraiser. … The amount of money that comes into this state for candidates comes from a variety of sources and I think that if you put the total amount together, as I went through, you can say that there are literally millions of dollars that I helped raise for our candidates."
Election committee members nominated Stuart and Williamson for the roll call vote. Some, like Lake County delegate Robert Cook, stressed the importance of working together.
"We have to focus in on winning and stop squabbling about social conservatives and fiscal conservatives," he said. "We're all Republicans. we have to win."