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posted: 1/17/2014 5:30 AM

State Republicans to pick national leader Saturday

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  • Judy Biggert

      Judy Biggert

  • Bob Schillerstrom

      Bob Schillerstrom

  • Doug Truax

      Doug Truax

  • Jim Oberweis

      Jim Oberweis

 
 

Some of the state's top Republicans will gather in Chicago Saturday to pick a new national committeeman, and former DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom is on the short list of five candidates.

Schillerstrom abandoned the idea of a run for Illinois treasurer earlier this year shortly after state Rep. Tom Cross of Oswego jumped in.

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He says he's been talking to members of the GOP state central committee to look for support and said the outcome Saturday isn't likely to be predetermined.

Also finalists: Richard Porter of Winnetka, Marc Levine of Wilmette, Vincent Kolber of Chicago and Kent Gray of Leland Grove.

Republicans are trying to fill the post following the death of Rich Williamson of Evanston last year.

Biggert's big help?

U.S. Senate hopeful Doug Truax, a Downers Grove Republican, will get some fundraising help next week from former U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, a Hinsdale Republican who lost in 2012.

Biggert will host a fundraising event at her home Jan. 22.

Truax is running in a one-on-one primary race against state Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove for the seat now held by Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

Last week, Truax stopped by the Springfield press room on a meeting swing through town. Asked about the differences between him and Oberweis, Truax said, first, "we're both pretty conservative."

But there's more

He said he's trying to emphasize his military background and experience consulting with businesses about their health care costs at a time when that issue is at the forefront of the political debate.

Oberweis told us late last year he'll be pointing to his newfound experience in the Illinois Senate last year to show people he's earned some legislating credentials. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2002 and 2004, finishing second in the primary both times.

Matune dogged by old arrest

Republican Keith Matune is facing criticism from his primary election opponent for the Illinois House, state Rep. Ron Sandack, over an arrest of Matune in 1991.

Matune, a Downers Grove Republican, sent out a news release Monday to try to explain the situation, saying he "unintentionally wrote a $150 check that was returned for insufficient funds while attending college out of state."

He was stopped in DuPage County for having headlight problems, and the charge from Montgomery County, Va., showed up.

"Keith was completely surprised and unaware of the situation," his statement read. "The officers refused to comply with the extradition request; Keith was not placed under arrest and was promptly released."

Matune also said on his Daily Herald candidate questionnaire that he had never been arrested.

But records from DuPage courts at the time show he was arrested May 3, 1991, and posted $2,000 bond before charges were dropped.

Asked about the discrepancy, Matune points to the Illinois State Police database showing he has no criminal record

"That's what I've been going on these 20 years," he said.

He says he doesn't recall the details of the situation.

"I don't remember any of the details, to be honest," Matune said. He said his attorney sorted things out at the time and that the situation hasn't arisen in background checks to be a teacher.

Matune shot back at Sandack in the news release, saying he felt threatened by a meeting at the Omega restaurant in Downers Grove where Sandack disclosed to Matune that he knew about the arrest.

Sandack says he had good intentions in trying to let Matune know the arrest might come out.

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