Local Republican leaders said Wednesday that two current members of the Illinois House, Palatine Township's supervisor and Rolling Meadows' mayor are among the candidates interested in replacing outgoing state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine.
Wheeling Township Committeewoman Ruth O'Connell told the Daily Herald that state Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights, state Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine, Palatine Township Roads Commissioner Aaron Del Mar, Palatine Township Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson, Arlington Heights Trustee Joe Farwell and Rolling Meadows Mayor Tom Rooney have all submitted their names.
Party rules stipulate that a replacement be selected by party leaders in the 27th Senate District.
While they don't plan to meet until after Murphy's resignation is effective Sept. 15, long-standing disagreements between two local Republican committeemen suggest the deciding vote will fall on the shoulders of the Elk Grove Township Republican committeeman.
Party leaders' choices are weighted based on the number of GOP votes cast in their townships in the last primary election. Palatine Township has 41 percent of the vote. Wheeling Township has 39 percent, Elk Grove Township has 16 percent, and Maine and Barrington townships have 2 percent or less apiece.
Del Mar, who also is the Palatine Township committeeman, and O'Connell have repeatedly butted heads on party matters, and neither of them has more than 50 percent of the vote alone. Elk Grove Township Committeeman Art Niewiardowski would put one candidate or the other over the top. O'Connell said Wednesday she backs Harris, who served stints in the Illinois House in the 1980s and '90s before being re-elected in 2010.
"David Harris is in our township, and I'd like to see him take the Senate seat and I don't have a problem with Tom Morrison," O'Connell said.
Del Mar, meanwhile, said he knew nothing of any plans to replace Murphy and declined to comment further. Records show, however, that he placed $50,000 in his own campaign fund on Wednesday.
Niewiardowski also declined to comment.
Murphy, a nearly 10-year Senate veteran and top spokesman for the Illinois Republican agenda, announced his resignation Aug. 12 to take a job with public affairs firm Mac Strategies Group.
His Sept. 15 departure date allows Republicans to fill the slot without holding a special election, according to state statute.
Murphy would not have been up for election this fall, but if one of the two sitting lawmakers were appointed to his spot, it's unclear how party leaders' subsequent move to replace Harris or Morrison would affect their spots on the November ballot.
• Daily Herald staff writer Eric Peterson contributed to this report.