M06, Yarbrough, Welch, Moore analysis
An elected official from outside Proviso Township emailed me to ask for my take on Karen Yarbrough's victories. Here's what I wrote back.
With the caveat that my insights into the recent elections are speculation and conjecture, not based on polling, systematic interviews or analysis of precinct returns....
I see a trend of throwing out the establishment and trying something new. The people that are positioned to take advantage of this desire for "something new" tend to be reformers (everyone on the outside wants "reform"), but the issues vary some from community to community.
I see Yarbrough's victories as part of the same trend that had Oak Park voters completely toss the Village Managers Association in the 2005 elections. I see many
suburban communities dumping incumbent pols and political parties in the next few elections.
In the specific races, Yarbrough beating Welch 3:1 has to be attributed to the intense anti-Welch feelings among the voters. Many homeowners still resent the way
he raised taxes--bypassing a referenda--for the magnet school. Many staff members at the schools feel jerked around by Welch's cronies. And there is significant
suspicion that admissions to the magnet school are being rigged based on personal connections.
Yarbrough defeated Moore by such a large margin due to a few reasons.
1. The winds of change were going to blow him out the door anyway.
2. While Moore may of had Serpico behind him, I heard Serpico's precinct organizers don't like Moore b/c they felt he double-crossed them on something in the
3. Moore didn't do a good job of giving county jobs to capable people spread around the township. He got jobs for a few people who mostly resided or had roots in
Maywood. Plus he didn't give the jobs to particularly capable people.
4. Welch's negatives hurt Moore.
Also, both Welch and Moore ran weak campaigns. When they went door-to-door they merely asked permission to place signs. They didn't especially try to make the
case to voters. Welch's message was not focused.
They assumed Welch could win a two-way Dem primary the same way he won a crowded school board race: push name recognition. Name recognition is only a positive thing
if people don't associate negative info with the name.
For example, I went door-to-door in Forest Park the weekend before the election. I asked a 35-45 year old woman in a single family home to vote for Yarbrough.
She responded, "Is she running against Welch?" I said, "Yes." The voter said, "She's got my vote."
Welch may have achieved higher name recognition than Yarbrough, but I suspect some voters simply made the inference that a campaign with 9-11 mailings and obnoxious signage was backed by money that didn't have the interests of the voters at heart.
To fix Welch's campaign:
1. He needed to stay focused on a simple message.
2. He needed to have independent community leadersproviding him with decent buzz.
3. He needed to not piss-off so many people who were energized to not just beat him, but make him suffer.