Stephens in line to be chosen as state Rep. McAuliffe's replacement
Republican committeemen will meet in Chicago's Edison Park neighborhood Saturday to pick a replacement for outgoing state Rep. Michael McAuliffe, with all signs pointing to it being Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens.
Party leaders from four townships and two Chicago wards will decide who should fill the remaining 18 months on McAuliffe's term in the state House's 20th District, which includes portions of Rosemont, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Niles, Schiller Park and Chicago's Northwest Side.
Stephens, head of the Leyden Township Regular Republican Organization, and McAuliffe, the 41st Ward Republican committeeman, are longtime political allies. Together they have enough weighted votes to put Stephens over the top.
Still, there could be others who throw their hats in the ring during the party meeting at 10 a.m. at Moretti's, 6727 N. Olmsted Ave. in Chicago.
Stephens said he expects the discussion among committeemen to take place behind closed doors, but then they would reconvene in public and the chosen candidate would be sworn in. New Cook County circuit court Judge John Mulroe is expected to officiate the oath of office ceremony.
Mulroe just stepped down from his 10th District state Senate seat, and Democratic committeemen are expected to pick his replacement Friday. Those in the running include 41st Ward Democratic Committeeman Tim Heneghan and state Rep. Rob Martwick, who is 38th Ward committeeman.
The 20th District in the state House makes up the western portion of the 10th District in the state Senate.
McAuliffe, who had been the lone Chicago GOP state representative, announced his resignation last week after 23 years in the legislature, saying he is going to spend more time with family.
If chosen for the open seat, Stephens said he plans to meet the public from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. He says he would keep the same staff and district office as McAuliffe's, at 5515 N. East River Road in Chicago -- a stone's throw from Rosemont.
The mayor reiterated this week that he plans to keep both government positions. He's making $260,000 a year as mayor, and legislators are paid $69,000, though it's possible he could get docked pay from the village when the legislature is in session.
"I can handle both of these posts. If I can't, then I won't. I think I can," Stephens said. "It's going to be a process of manning the schedule more efficiently and effectively, but I'm up to the task."
If appointed, Stephens has indicated he would run for the seat in 2020.