Fair Politics

By Bob Balgemann


BELVIDERE – There was some excitement Sunday in a couple of the political booths along the Midway, as the 156th Boone County Fair came to a close.

Those in the booths produced their iPhones to show the most recent poll had Democrat Bernie Sanders running ahead of every other candidate for president of the United States.

He was the choice of 53 who participated in that poll compared with 40 for Democrat Hillary Clinton, 27 for Republican businessman Donald Trump and 18 for Republican Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon.

Who’s Bernie? That question was posed on a sign outside the Bernie Sanders tent at the fair. He’s a former U.S. senator from Vermont who bills himself as being “the strongest on equality,” among those would be president.

“Sanders has a perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s latest Congressional Equality Index,” according to Advocate.com

The presidential election is a long way off, scheduled for November 2016. The first test for candidates, 16 of whom currently are Republicans, will come during a caucus in January in Iowa.

Those in the Boone County Democratic Party booth also were enthused by the showing in Iowa, at this early date, of a Democratic candidate.

But party Chairman Mike Guthrie already has plenty on his plate locally, what with six seats up for grabs on the Boone County Board next year.

Board has one Democrat

There only is one Democrat among the 12 members of the county board and he is Craig Schultz, from District 3. Local Democrats plan to work hard to retain him, should he decide to seek a fresh four-year term, Guthrie said.

Republican opposition to his candidacy is questionable as four years ago local GOP leaders spoke highly of Schultz and welcomed his election to the board. They predicted he would receive the most votes of any District 3 candidate and they were right.

Others whose seats are up for election to the board are Chairman Bob Walberg and Denny Ellingson in District 1; Paul Larson and Cathy Ward in District 2; and Schultz and Kenny Freeman in District 3.

Village and school board seats won’t be up until 2017.

So far only one primary is on tap and that involves two Republicans, incumbent State’s Attorney Michelle Courier against challenger Tricia Smith, a former county board member. Democrats at this point don’t plan to have a candidate in that race.

“We’re still looking for candidates, mostly for the county board,” Guthrie said. “We’re making some cold calls to people” to gauge their levels of interest.

It will be quiet until after Labor Day, when nominating petitions will be available for circulation among voters.

Neither major party will be able to begin supporting candidates until after the various fields are determined.

“We’re just letting people know that we’re alive and well,” Guthrie said.

Photos draw interest

Photographs of young dogs and children adorned part of the walls in the two-space Republican Party tent. Visitors were invited to select the ones they thought were the cutest and donate a penny per vote. In all, there were 53 children and 20 dogs, with the display drawing a lot of conversation.

Party Chairman Pat Murphy said the number of people dropping by the tent was steady, with “no angry voters” during the afternoon of the final day of the fair.

As is usually the case a couple came in to complain about their county taxes and quickly were told they were in the wrong place.

Most of the political conversation revolved around electing a president next year. There currently are 16 Republican candidates with Murphy reporting a considerable number of visitors liked Donald Trump, but questioned whether he was electable.

Not much will be going on around the county until after Labor Day.

Among the early events for 2016 will be a debate March 3 between the two state’s attorney candidates at the downtown Belvidere Community Building. It is being put on by the Republican Central Committee.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.