Lake County political parties retain leaders
The leaders of Lake County's political parties will remain in place ahead of November's general election, as precinct committeemen cast their votes Wednesday night at party conventions held simultaneously in Waukegan.
Wauconda Republican Bob Cook deflected a challenge from Moraine Township GOP Chairman Louis Atsaves to secure a second 2-year term as Lake County Republican Party chairman.
State Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan went unopposed to extend his 20-year tenure as Democratic Party chairman.
Party conventions are held every two years to choose a chairman, who acts as spokesmen for the party, recruits candidates and helps coordinate campaigns. The weighted votes represent the number of ballots of a particular party pulled in the primary election.
Cook, a former Marine, was described by supporters as a friend of the rank and file. He was credited with curbing infighting, aiding fundraising for candidates and rebuilding the party in the northeast part of the county, while setting the stage for defeating former U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean and former state Sen. Michael Bond.
"Our goal is to win every race," he said after a decisive 3-to-1 victory.
Atsaves received a standing ovation from the crowd of about 300 at the Midlane Golf Resort after moving his votes to Cook so the decision would be unanimous.
"We are united," Cook then said. "When we're united, we're incredibly hard to beat."
At the Ramada Inn, Link was lauded by supporters for helping Democrats gain ground in a heavily Republican county since taking charge of the party in 1992.
"We were like an endangered species back then; now we've more Democrats in office than ever," said Pete Couvall, a former vice chairman of the party.
Looking toward November, Link, who drove from Springfield for the convention, said the party needed to focus on electing Democrats in the 10th Congressional District and the Lake County state's attorney's office.
"Lately the Democratic Party has been on the defense, from the president down," Link said. "From now on, we're going on the offense.
"I'm going to do whatever it takes to get Democrats elected from top to bottom."