Saturday, June 13, 2009

Turned Out

This is probably a Lake County Board revolving-door record of some sort. Friday morning, Keith Turner was nominated by County Board Chair Suzi Schmidt to replace outgoing Board Commissioner Bob Sabonjian. Turner accepted the nomination. And Turner withdrew his name from nomination. All within the span of an 8 hour work day.

Schmidt had fast-tracked the appointment of the newest County Board Commissioner, with Turner issuing a statement reported by the NewsSun:
It is very humbling to have been selected for appointment to fill Bob's seat to represent and (serve) the residents of the 8th County Board District.
Turner had been reported saying he was "overwhelmed" to have Sabonjian's endorsement. According to the Daily Herald story, Sabonjian praised Turner as "the kind of guy who thinks for himself". Reportedly a party was scheduled the same weekend to celebrate the nomination.

Now, less than a day later, Turner is no longer the nominee, telling the NewsSun, "At this time, it's not something that I can take on." Elaborating on this sudden one-eighty Turner said:
I decided to withdraw my name for personal reasons. It's time for me to focus on my family and my health ... There's been some recent developments of a personal nature and a family nature, and I don't see myself being able to devote the time or attention that the office deserves.
Need to focus on family and health? No time to devote to the office? Hmm. These are familiar sounding cliches, at least within the tightly scripted sphere of political discourse -- and a sure-fire indicator that there is more to this story than meets the eye.

Turner has been a long standing fixture in (Democrato-centric) Waukegan politics. But as reported by the TeamAmerica's blog, Turner broke with the Democratic Party last year to endorse Republican Keith Gray's unsuccessful 2008 State Senate challenge against Terry Link.

Turner had also helped State Representative Eddie Washington fend off party-backed challenger Angelo Kyle in the 2008 Democratic primary. And Turner, as self-proclaimed campaign manager, helped Bob Sabonjian defeat Dick Hyde for Waukegan Mayor this past April. It was this role that landed Turner his nomination to the County Board.

Sabonjian's promotion to Waukegan Mayor necessitated his resignation from the County Board. Suzi Schmidt, as County Board Chair, has the responsibility to nominate a replacement. Terry Link, as Lake County Party boss, was on record saying he wanted to see Waukegan ex-mayor Bill Durkin in the job. Sabonjian meanwhile had other ideas. This comes as no surprise because, as reported in this blog, it was Link's political ally Dick Hyde that Sabonjian successfully drove out of office. It is not known whether Sabonjian was motivated out of a desire to see good government flourish, or out of an instinct to stick it to Terry Link -- but in any event, Suzi Schmidt ended up nominating Turner on Sabonjian's sayso.

According to your LakeCountyEye's magic crystal ball, the fact that the nomination fell apart as abruptly as it did is a strong indication that information had surfaced in the interim serious enough to kill the deal. What that information might be and who might've leaked it, the crystal ball does not say. However what you hear coming from the direction of Waukegan is not the sound of cars being impounded. It is the sound of Suzi Schmidt & Bob Sabonjian backpedaling to beat the band.


southpaw24 said...

Rumor has it that Keith Turner stepped down from the appointment to the county board made by Chairwoman Suzi Schmidt because the fact that he is a convicted felon was leaked. Obviously nobody veted the candidiate. Turner was Mayor Bob Sabonjians hand picked candidate to replace himself on the county board. Unbelievable that no one did a background check. Schmidt and Sabonjian showed their inexperience to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Especially given the GOP's disdain for improper election petitions, questionable Dem political appointments, etc. I am 'shocked' that the GOP-leaning Schmidt and Sabonjian failed to vet a nominee or appointee. This is especially so since Waller and Curran are Repubs and should know something about the law and what felons can and can't do. I wonder if Curran will issue a get out of jail free card to the GOP or switch parties again.

southpaw24 said...

Whisperers around the county building are hinting that Suzi decided to run for higher office because she wants to bump up her pension. She is barely hanging on to control of the county board and sees the handwriting on the wall. If she doesn't make a move now she could be out of the chairmans chair. A seat in the minority is better than no seat at all and she will continue to feed off the public trough. That is if she can win the senate seat. It should get interesting and will no doubt be a tough race for her.