GOP will target Ciko's past convictions in TV ad

Seeking to keep a targeted Lake County legislative seat in GOP hands, House Republican strategists on Thursday will launch cable television ads highlighting past convictions of Democratic challenger Nick Ciko for theft of a parking pass in college and driving under the influence of alcohol years later.

Ciko, 42, a middle school teacher from Lindenhurst, said Wednesday he is sorry for mistakes he made while he was younger, but the political strategy is "exactly what's wrong with Illinois and the politics of self-destruction that makes people sick."

Mike Schrimpf, a former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who now works as a consultant in several state legislative races, confirmed to the Daily Herald the cable ads will begin airing Thursday and detail a 1996 theft conviction Ciko has recently been seeking to expunge from his record.

Ciko, a teacher at Mundelein Elementary District 75 and an Antioch-Lake Villa High School District 117 board member, is making a bid against first-term GOP incumbent Sheri Jesiel, of Winthrop Harbor, in the 61st state House district.

Champaign County Court records show that in April 1996, while a student at the University of Illinois, Ciko "knowingly obtained control over stolen property" involving a parking permit that belonged to a woman and was valued at $300 or less. He entered a guilty plea, was placed on a six-month supervision, and paid a fine of $196, according to the court. Records also show that this June, Ciko petitioned the court to have the conviction expunged from his record.

The DUI charge occurred in Lindenhurst in July 2004. Ciko, who police said had a blood alcohol level of 0.143 at the time, attended DUI school and paid a total of $2,101 for the offense, records show. Records also show several speeding tickets on Ciko's record during the years.

"When I was younger, I made mistakes. I'm sorry for them, I took responsibility for them, and I've learned from them," Ciko said in a statement emailed to the Daily Herald. "I've worked to help young people make smart decisions."

The ad, he said, "focuses on a mistake I made in college ... we need to be talking about the failures of Jesiel and Springfield politicians to stand up for middle class families."

The 61st state House district, long held by Republican JoAnn Osmond, is one of a handful of races this fall considered key to the balance of power in Springfield. Rauner is attempting to pick up several seats in swing suburban territory in order to erode the power of Democrats who currently control both houses of the General Assembly by veto-proof margins.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.