Leaders in the McLean County Democratic Party are gathering tonight for what they’re calling a re-organization meeting and they're putting out an open call for anyone interested. They hope to capitalize on the anger and interest so many people have following Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election.
Critics from within the party say if anything, the latest election results show like any old bureaucracy, the party only knows how to do what it has done for years. But, local McLean County Party leaders are ready to listen and consider new ideas during a meeting at the Laborer’s local hall on Fox Creek Road in Southwest Bloomington at 6:30 p.m.
Where are the Democrats?
Mike Matejka, precinct committee member and legislative affairs director for the Great Plains Laborers District Council knows the perennial complaint is that the party doesn't recruit challengers to run against entrenched Republicans in McLean County. Matejka says it's a challenge. "It's easy to say, 'somebody should challenge Dan Brady, somebody should challenge Bill Brady or the county clerk or the sheriff or any other elected official' but who wants to do that because if you do that and you're serious, it almost becomes a full-time commitment."
Matejka adds Illinois election law presents another difficulty. "To be on the ballot for a party, you have to vote with that party. For a lot of people in McLean County they say, 'well I might be a Democrat but I really was concerned about this race or that race so I took an "R"' [Republican ballot] which then makes it difficult sometimes to legally put them on the ballot."
The party traditionally has not endorsed candidates for local races such as for mayor, city council or school board. Matejka says with so many local Democrats angered by the Donald Trump presidential win, they might raise the issue for discussion, especially in light of a mayoral primary in Bloomington with candidates that are using some of the same language as the president-elect.
Hear more of Matejka's observations about the state of the Democratic Party in this Sound Ideas interview: