Heading into the 2020 election cycle, the Republican Party of Lake County is gearing up to defend its elected seats – and maybe pick up a few new districts.
The first focus is on the state House of Representatives.
“We have interviewed and talked to a number of people who are interested in running for state representative this time in seats that are held by Democrats,” Mark Shaw, Lake County GOP Central Committee Chairman, told the Lake County Gazette. “We’ve talked to a number of candidates, and I think we’re going to have a pretty good crop of candidates running for state rep in this election cycle.”
Mark Shaw, Lake County GOP Central Committee Chairman
One of the first priorities is to defend the two House seats currently held by Republicans: the 52nd and 64th districts. In the 52nd, state Rep. David McSweeney has chosen not to run again. Incumbent state Rep. Tom Weber will defend his seat in the next term.
The other eight districts are held by Democrats.
“My goals are to make sure the voters in Lake County know that the Republican Party in Lake County is alive and well and we intend to compete with Democrats in every race,” Shaw said, adding that the political map in Lake County can be challenging for opposition parties. “Lake County is a microcosm of the state of Illinois in that the eastern side of our county tends to be more Democratic, and the western side tends to be more Republican. As you move across the county, it goes from bluish, to purple to red. Illinois, the state itself, is similar in that respect.”
Moving that electoral needle can be difficult, but not impossible, Shaw said.
“Depending on what parts of the county you are in, it’s competitive. In some parts it’s not. If you’re trying to run someone in Waukegon, the county seat, that’s difficult for a Republican. It’s a very Democratic area,” Shaw said. "If you’re trying to run somebody in Antioch or Wauconda or Barrington, it’s very Republican. It depends on where you are running.”
Shaw said that interest in the Republican Party has increased during the current federal administration.