The four Republican candidates in the 42nd House District are arguing over who is or isn't a political insider -- and whether such experience may be a benefit as a state representative.
In a recent Daily Herald endorsement interview, one of the candidates, Dave Carlin, charged opponent Jeanne Ives with selling herself as an outsider -- all while receiving the political backing of Republican political consultant Dan Proft and his Illinois Liberty PAC.
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Meanwhile, Carlin has said he and the two other candidates in the March 20 GOP primary race, Chris Hage and Laura Pollastrini, "would be more equipped to go to Springfield and serve their community" than Ives because of their records of public service.
Carlin labeled Proft, a WLS radio host and one-time gubernatorial candidate, as "'Cicero' Dan Proft," in reference to published reports from 2008 that showed Proft received no-bid contracts worth more than $500,000 a year to represent Cicero and area school districts as their spokesman.
"(Ives) says she's independent, but she's done media training with Dan Proft. The other three of us haven't," said Carlin, who is the College of DuPage board president and district office director for U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh. "I think it's important to point out that three of us have records of public service, and three of us have been engaged in the process, working for our communities for a number of years. And we're not selling ourselves as outsiders."
Proft's Illinois Liberty PAC endorsed Ives last November, and contributed $5,000 to her campaign at the time, according to the most recent campaign finance disclosure statement available through the state board of elections.
Ives, who was elected to the Wheaton City Council last April, said she's proud of the endorsement from Illinois Liberty PAC, whose purpose is "to support candidates for public office who embrace public policy rooted in the principles of liberty and free enterprise," according to its filing with the state.
"I had a guy drive up from Naperville to my house, hand me a check, and say, 'I vetted you, and the clincher was that you were associated with Dan Proft,'" Ives said.
She says she's "more independent-minded" since she hasn't worked on many political campaigns, though she says she has been involved politically "to the right extent," as a Republican committeeman in Milton Township since 2004. As a graduate of West Point, Ives said a similar kind of leadership and ethics is needed in Springfield.
Carlin charged Ives with using her background as a West Point graduate to her political advantage.
"I respect the military like nobody else, but when you wear it on your sleeve and you say elect me because of it, even other veterans are resentful of that," Carlin said.
Pollastrini, an attorney and government relations specialist, says she got involved in the Young Republicans of DuPage County after graduating from college. She didn't know anyone politically, but she said she wanted to work on campaigns.
"I got behind people I could believe in," Pollastrini said.
When she was press officer for former DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett, Pollastrini said she gave Birkett Hage's resume and said he would make a good prosecutor.
Hage, who did become an assistant state's attorney for Birkett, said he's spent a career working to get Republicans elected on the statewide and federal levels -- many times in a volunteer role.
"I do kind of hear that we're somehow different or (Ives is) different from us because we work for those people," Hage said. "I reject that. We worked with the Young Republicans because we wanted good government -- practiced (in DuPage County) -- exported. That's the point. No one here has gotten rich off politics."
Carlin said he thinks bringing up Proft's previous work in Cicero is "fair game" in the GOP primary race for the 42nd House district.
"If you're playing in this election, I wanna know," Carlin said he told Proft. "What do you have to gain? What's your motive? What's your agenda?"
Unlike others, Ives said she's "not numb" to what has gone on in Springfield, and she would go there to make her own decisions.
"I don't have any political ties," she said.
"Except Dan Proft," Carlin retorted.
"He doesn't own me," Ives said.
The newly drawn 42nd district includes parts of Wheaton, Winfield, Carol Stream, Warrenville and Lisle.