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updated: 3/4/2010 8:36 AM

Cook emerges as Lake County Republican Party's new leader

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  • Bob Cook, of Wauconda, is the new head of the Lake County Republican Party after incumbent Dan Venturi withdrew his candidacy in hopes of creating party unity.

       Bob Cook, of Wauconda, is the new head of the Lake County Republican Party after incumbent Dan Venturi withdrew his candidacy in hopes of creating party unity.
    Vincent Pierri | Staff Photographer

 
By Vincent Pierri

The vote for the new Lake County Republican Party chairman wasn't even close.

In fact, not one vote was cast.

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In a surprise move, two-term incumbent Dan Venturi withdrew his candidacy, allowing challenger Bob Cook of Wauconda to become the new party boss. The decision came during Wednesday night's biennial convention held at the Midlane Golf Resort in Waukegan.

"It's been my honor and privilege to serve as chairman for the last four years. It's a job I've worked hard at and learned to love," Venturi said. "This is an exciting election cycle, there is a lot of new energy. This is a good opportunity to refocus our attention and redirect our energies and with that in mind, I would like to withdraw my candidacy for Chairman of the Lake County Republican Central Committee."

Cook, 53, a former Wauconda Township Republican Chairman, walked to the podium shaking hands with the cheering crowd along the way.

"I pledge to you right now that I will work with everybody. We are all Republicans," Cook said. "We all have the 'R.' I hope we all take a pledge to support all Republicans in all the races. It's time to get some wins! Thank you, thank you, thank you."

A former U.S. Marine, Cook has three sons who have each has served tours in Iraq with the Army. One is currently in Afghanistan.

Venturi, the Lake Villa Township Supervisor, said it was time for party unity. He wanted to avoid a potentially divisive vote.

"I've always tried to be a uniter. I could see there was strong feelings on both sides. I thought this was an opportunity to bring everyone together," Venturi said after the announcement. "It was time to get a unanimous vote. I've had the chance to lead for four years and felt privileged to have that. I'll be active in the party, but just taking a different role."

On the Democratic side, state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan ran unopposed at the Lake County Democratic Party Convention held at the Ramada Inn in Waukegan. Link has led the county Democrats since 1992.

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