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Chicago GOP Robocalls Aren't Asking You to Vote, They're Asking You to Run

  Pre-recorded calls seeking Republican candidates are being made all over the city, Chicago GOP officials said.
Pre-recorded calls seeking Republican candidates are being made all over the city, Chicago GOP officials said.
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Flickr/Joselito Tagarao

DUNNING — Chicago Republicans are dialing for candidates.

The Chicago GOP is robocalling residents of the 38th Ward to ask them to consider running for the Chicago City Council to replace Ald. Tim Cullerton, who is retiring in May at the end of his term.

Kerry Murphy, who got the robocall at her Dunning home, said she was shocked the Republicans were so desperate for a candidate that the party resorted to pre-recorded calls volunteering to help "qualified" candidates get on the February ballot.

"It is not that there aren't Republicans in this area, but why wouldn't they already have a candidate?" Murphy said.

Heather Cherone says Chicago's GOP sees the race as an opportunity:

When Murphy posted on Facebook about the call, several of her friends and neighbors said they had also gotten the robocall — but none said they were interested in running as a Republican for the City Council.

The deadline to submit nominating papers for the City Council election is Nov. 24, according to Chicago elections officials.

Chris Cleveland, a spokesman for the Chicago GOP, said similar robocalls are being made to Chicago residents all over the city, especially those who live in what he said were wards that offered a "top-tier" opportunity to put a Republican back on the City Council.

"Ald. Cullerton's retirement is an opportunity," Cleveland said. "The election is an opportunity for voters to register their dissatisfaction with one-party rule by the Democratic Party in Illinois."

The Chicago GOP's website features a similar appeal, noting that "Chicago is a Democratic town, and has been that way for decades."

Candidates who make it through the Chicago GOP's "vetting process" — which includes answering a questionnaire about their views or qualifications — will get help "each step of the way with the expertise ... to run a credible campaign."

Those who get the nod would be deemed an "Approved Republican Candidate,” according to the Chicago GOP website.

Chicago aldermanic races are officially non-partisan.

At least four candidates are running to represent Portage Park and Dunning on the City Council, a seat that has been represented by a member of the Cullerton family since 1973.

The announced candidates in the 38th Ward are Ald. Nicholas Sposato (36th), whose ward was redrawn under the new City Council map, Heather Sattler, the chief operating officer of the 100 Club of Chicago, Carmen Hernandez, a city water investigator, and Tom Caravette, a real estate agent and property manager.

The number of candidates already in the race make a runoff in April between the top two vote getters very likely, perhaps giving an unknown candidate a boost, according to the robocall.

The City Council has been without a Republican member since former Ald. Brian G. Doherty, who represented the 41st Ward ward for 20 years, retired before the last aldermanic election.

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