A battle for control of the Kane County Republican Party that perhaps began to play out during the February primary will see its next struggle in the contest for party chairman.
Kane County Board members Mike Kenyon and Drew Frasz have started campaigning ahead of the March 3 vote for chairman, and neither are pulling punches. Kenyon is fresh off winning a fourth term Feb. 17 as chairman of the Elgin Township Republicans in a close race against Kane County Treasurer David Rickert. Some GOP committeeman in that race said Kenyon used strong-arm tactics to retain the spot. Kenyon denied any bullying to win votes in the race, and Monday said Frasz's challenge to his leadership of the county party is all about Frasz being hungry for power and misconceptions about Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay running the show.
"There's no outside influence," Kenyon said. "Some people like to say Karen's in there. She came to one meeting, which is more than Drew has ever come to. Never did he come by and say, 'Hey, I got a great idea.' I just question the motivations. I'm not doing it for power. I get the job done."
Frasz said he's a "somewhat reluctant candidate" for the chairmanship. He said he decided to run after being encouraged by many of his fellow Republicans with a message that it's time to shake things up.
"I do feel that the central committee is dominated by one political machine," Frasz said. "And I'm also concerned that we have lost a lot of races to the Democrats over the last four years or so."
Frasz said he also believes the leadership of the county party, including Kenyon, might have recruited candidates to run against incumbent Republicans they didn't like such as Rickert and county board member Barb Wojnicki.
"I think the fact that all those incumbents went on to win by substantial margins indicates that a there's a bit of a disconnect between the central committee and the average Kane County voter," Frasz said.
Frasz said he's looking to change that by embracing the energy of the tea party movement and recruiting more Independents and Hispanics.
"I'm not out to settle any kind of political scores, but when you see something you think you can improve on, you should get involved," Frasz said.