Politics Factors Into Shaw's Selection Over Neerhof in 58th District

Is it any wonder why the American people have become disrespectful wary of politicians and their political institutions?


Political shenanigans are not limited to one political party.

Integrity, however, in government and among those elected to serve is essential at all levels of government to allow the sunshine in. If not, corruption will take over and will eventually snag elected officials who had every intention of initially serving their constituents honestly.  

It is not my intent as a lifelong Republican to point fingers at my fellow Republicans. However, I believe malicious actions are like a cancer that will only multiply and destroy the whole if left unchecked, and I cannot permit injustice when observed to remain under the radar of public scrutiny. 

The narrative of the Illinois 58th House District race represents a current political election kerfuffle that every voter needs to be aware of to make an informed and educated decisions this fall and in future elections.

As such, it is fair to inquire why Dr. Mark Neerhof was not selected as the Republican candidate to succeed Lauren Turelli on the November ballot after Turelli dropped out of the race. . 

My initial thought upon hearing  was whether Dr. Neerhof had been approached to take Lauren's place? If Neerhof had been asked and expressed a desire to continue his bid for the 58th District House seat, why then were other candidates up for consideration by Lake County GOP Chairman Bob Cook to replace Turelli, including Shaw and Keith Gray?

Wanting to hear a factual account from the individual who had experienced rejection, I made an appointment to visit Dr. Mark Neerhof and his wife, Betty, last Saturday in their lovely Lake Forest home.   

It would be impossible to relate every nuanced detail of my conversation with Neerhof. What I will attempt to show is that Turelli perpetuated alleged deception during her primary campaign, and how Shaw, as her campaign manager, formulated the same alleged deceptions via press releases.   

Furthermore, the selection of Shaw to succeed Turelli was enabled through the actions of Ed Sullivan, 51st District representative, Tom Cross, Minority Republican Leader in Springfield, and Cook. 

It was in August of last year that Neerhof first expressed his desire to run for the District 58th House seat to Sullivan. 

Although Neerhof had never run for office before, loving his country and thankful for his success in life and the opportunities given him, he wanted to go to Springfield to make a difference. 

Neerhof was willing to sacrifice his own career as a renowned D.O. specializing in material and fetal health in a practice limited to high risk obstetrics in the North Shore University Health System Medical Group to deal with much needed Medicaid reform and other pressing problems facing the state.   

Sullivan was seated in the same spot as I in Neerhof's living room with wife Betty present in August. Neerhof asked Sullivan if Springfield would be supportive of his campaign effort if he became a candidate in District 58?   

Without hesitation, Sullivan candidly informed Neerhof that the HRO (House Republican Organization) never became involved to lend a hand financially in primary elections and that he would be supportive of Neerhof's bid.   

On Sept. 28, 2011,  for another term. On the same day, Neerhof received two telephone calls from his campaign manager, Brad Goodman, first telling him that May had dropped out of the race and then informing Neerhof that .  

I was surprised to learn that Gray, a Mettawa businessman, was a viable candidate along with Neerhof for the District 58 House seat. With the announcement of Turelli's bid to enter the race, Gray pulled out of the race Oct. 11, 2011, to give his full support to her.   

With the exit of Gray, the contest was now between Neerhof and Turelli. From Jan. 1 to the March 3 primary, Neerhof was involved in an active campaign, knocking on doors every Saturday and Sunday with the exception of one weekend. During that same period, Neerhof was saddled with raising the funds necessary to compete with Turelli.       

In a complete about face to what Sullivan told Neerhof in his face-to-face meeting last August, the HRO, through Republican Minority Leader Cross, dolled out $50,000 to the Turelli campaign during the primary season (see attached PDF documents). 

It was during the last few weeks of the District 58 race that all the mud slinging ads and campaign mailings with their alleged false allegations against challenger Neerhof occurred, made possible through an additional pot of money made available to the Turelli campaign by Cross out of his HRO fund (see attached PDF documents).   

she had obtained in International Relations from England's University of Cambridge in 1994, and the subsequent controversy, caught the attention of Cross in Springfield and raised questions over Turelli's ability to beat Neerhof.   

Shaw allegedly countered by informing Neerhof that he had filed false ethics mistakes against him for receiving income from Medicaid patients. 

Shaw later admitted that his complaint against Neerhof was never filed. As Neerhof told me, "As one who works for the North Shore University Health System Medical Group, I never receive separate checks from the government. I am an employee of Northshore."  

Shaw's selection by Cook to represent the GOP against Democratic candidate Scott Drury deserves exploration.   

According to Neerhof, the reasons he was given by Cook for Shaw's appointment on the same night it was decided are suggestive of heavy-handed political pressure applied on Cook from the Republican Establishment in Lake County and by Cross in Springfield.

1.  According to Cook, Shaw had his campaign team in place and ready to go. Did Neerhof's campaign efforts and the time, dedication and money spent since entering the race in August of 2011 count for nothing? 

2.  According to Cook, Louis Atsaves had withdrawn his support for Neerhof and was now supporting Shaw.  Not true, according to Neerhof after speaking by phone with Atsaves, precinct leader of Moraine Township, immediately after Cook made the Atsaves allegation.   

3.  Cook admitted to Neerhof that he had based his Atsaves allegation on a rumor, according to Neerhof.    

4.  According to Cook, Neerhof would have been selected had he been involved in more Republican type activities throughout the years.   

It is true that Shaw can show am active record in many Republican and civic activities.  

As Neerhof related to me, "If Mark Shaw believed he was such a great candidate, why didn't he initially run instead of Lauren Turelli?" 

Neerhof's background is not flush with outside activities. They include mainly participation in church activities and his work as an executive board member of DocsPatientCare, a national organization committed to real medical reform. He also would have brought extensive medical knowledge and expertise to the floor of the House to reform this state's desperately needed and broken Medicaid system. 

Now it is time to reveal the real reason why Neerhof was passed over. The financial help given the Turelli campaign, with not a drop going to support Neerhof's campaign, speaks volumes as to which candidate Cross wanted sent to Springfield to join him in the House.

The question remains what there was about Shaw's suitability that prompted the Republican Establishment in Lake County and in Springfield to embrace him? 

Within the Republican Establishment is found the answer. Conservatives need not apply or only sparingly. They upset the apple cart with their clear thinking. 

Having a mind of their own, conservatives will not allow their principles to be compromised, but are duty bound to do what their constituents elected them to do back home. 

Neerhof is not ashamed of calling himself a conservative Republican. He is not an extremist in any way, but to Cross having "yes" establishment congressmen in the House is important to maintaining his power and control and his leadership role as Republican House Minority Leader. 

Shaw represents the ideal Republican Establishment candidate. In contrast, Neerhof, as a Republican political outsider, doesn't measure up in the eyes of the Republican Establishment either at home or in Springfield.  

With enough public outrage, both Bob Cook and Mark Shaw could be made to resign their respective positions and Neerhof given a chance to resume his campaign for the 58th House seat.  

I opened my article by insisting that integrity was necessary at all levels of government. Is it any wonder why the American people have become disrespectful wary of politicians and their political institutions?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

D'skidoc July 02, 2012 at 01:39 PM
What a surprise! An altruistic Republican (you don't see those two words together oftten), who happens to be a leader in his own field of expertise gets the axe essentially because he hasn't been a enough of a political hack. G_d forbid an independent thinking, highly intelligent professional gets to use his experience in public service. (btw... I'm not a Republican, so it's not personal)
The Neighbor July 02, 2012 at 03:02 PM
TO ALL: If you know just a little bit about local politics and you like to laugh, Nancy Thorner's writings are a must read. When Turelli announced she was getting out of the race, Thorner announced that she would resign her Precinct Committeeman position if anyone but Neerhof became the new candidate for State Representative. So Nancy, do you follow through on your promises, or are you going to prove to everyone that you're a hypocrite and a liar?
Carl Lambrecht July 03, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Benjamin Franklin once said after consulting with someone he changed his position 180 degrees on an issue. I see Nancy is like Ben and is flexible to change her position. She is a real patriot.
Jack Koenig July 03, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Ms. Thorner’s lengthy travelogue of the mind deserves a response. Ms. Thorner describes her admiration and support for Dr. Mark Neerhof and believes that because he finished in second place in the Republican primary to fill the open 58th District State Representative position, he should be the natural replacement for the winner – Turelli - who resigned for family reasons. I was a supporter of Neerhof in both the primary and in the meeting Republican Party Chairman Robert Cook called to help gauge the support each candidate (Neerhof, Shaw, and Gray) generated. As an individual and as the elected Committeeman for Bannockburn, Del Mar Woods, and a sliver of Highland Park, I wrote a letter stating my support for Dr. Neerhof in the Primary and hand delivered it to all my constituents during the period leading up to the election. I consider Mark to be a friend and a man of impeccable character. Continued In Part 2
Jack Koenig July 03, 2012 at 09:42 PM
The Thorner Controversy Part 2 But occasionally something happens which can force one to re-evaluate their position. And that is exactly what happened in the case of Neerhof Vs Shaw Vs Gray. Something happened in Springfield that highlighted how democracy has all but disappeared in Illinois government. And that destruction was brought about by the tyrannical Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan and his Democrat colleagues. Replacing Turelli with a political neophyte at this point in time is no longer an option. Before continuing with the “Thorner Controversy,” I believe a short primer on political parties is in order to help place it in perspective. A political party is a group of like minded people who seek to influence the political process. The political party is NOT open to all, but only to those who agree to work within the party structure and strive to advance its goals. Republican Party members include the Committeemen, Precinct Captains, and Block Captains who do the “grunt work” to make America an even better place to live and work. Their dedication helps motivate the public to support the Party by donating time and/or money, holding "meet and greets," writing letters to the editor, etc., etc…. And voting for their candidates in both the Primary and the General Election.Continued In Part 3
Jack Koenig July 03, 2012 at 09:43 PM
The Thorner Controversy - Part 3 But just because a person takes a Party's ballot in a Primary Election, it does not automatically make them a member of the Party. You must join and be accepted to be a Party member. Otherwise there would be total chaos as each Party’s partisans would begin infiltrating the “enemy.” Having said that, let’s get back to the “Thorner Controversy!” A few short days ago, many of us became aware of events unfolding in Springfield that all but destroyed Neerhoh’s chances of becoming the Republican’s standard bearer in the race to fill the open seat in the 58th Representative District. Neerhof is a gentleman, an incredibly intelligent, God fearing person, and someone you would not want to see on the other end of your debate. But therein lies the problem: under House Speaker Madigan, Springfield has become a tyrannical empire responsible to Madigan and Madigan alone, and Dr. Neerhof would be toast. There is NO chance for any meaningful legislation to pass under Madigan’s dictatorial rule. Continued in Part 4
Jack Koenig July 03, 2012 at 09:43 PM
The Thorner Controversy - Part 4 Chairman Cook realized how bad the situation had become and selected a member of the Republican Party who was a distinguished leader and organizer, a legal scholar, and a trench warrior to boot. That man, Mark Shaw, is charged with leading the fight to return Illinois government to citizen control through representation, not dictation. I believe that in the final analysis, Dr. Neerhof will be more than happy he wasn’t sucked into the mire called Springfield. Jack Koenig, Communications Chairman Lake County Republican Party
D'skidoc July 03, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Like I said, good people are often not welcome in politics, or pushed aside by political considerations, rather than the prospective value of that individual's future public service. Sad but true.
Local resident July 04, 2012 at 04:27 AM
@Nancy - I have watched over the past two years as you have "stirred the pot" on many issues of public importance (most notably, the Deerpath principal legal issues) and have been grateful that there are people like you out there that are not afraid to shake the bushes. HOWEVER, sometimes it is also important to realize that it is time to move on. The Republican leadership has made their choice - and I'm sure it was a tough one. All this nitpicking is going to do is give plenty of the voteres reason to vote for the Democratic candidate. People are getting very tired of this type of negative campaigning - and I predict they will shut it down with their votes in November.
Carl Lambrecht July 04, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Jack we all know the center of corruption in this state is in Springfield with main headquarters in Chicago. The problem is that they have made wrong laws. These laws are bankrupting our state. In fact one of these wrong laws left the decision to really only one man. Read Nancy's article carefully again. Then read the Declaration of Independence. Which was sign on this day in 1776.
Nancy J. Thorner July 05, 2012 at 01:31 AM
I feel obliged to respond to the comments posted by Jack Koenig as communications chairman of the Lake County Republican Party. Koenig posted four very measured and polite comments June 3 on my blog (which he called the "Thorner Controversy"), first published on Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch on June 2. In that blog I voiced my displeasure with the selection of Mark Shaw over Dr. Mark Neerhof as the candidate to replace Lauren Turelli in the IL 58th District house race. Shaw spoke of "a few short days ago" when events happened in Springfield that required a pit bull to fight the nasty fight that Democrats would wage. To which I might question, was Lauren Turelli, the candidate, a pit bull? Yet all the HRO (House Republican Organization) money was directed to Turelli's campaign by Tom Cross and none given to Dr. Mark Neerof, after Ed Sullivan informed Neerhof back in August of last year that he could depend on both money and support from Springfield if he ran as a candidate in the 58th.
Nancy J. Thorner July 05, 2012 at 01:34 AM
The manner in which the Shaw's selection was announced to Dr. Neerhof by Bob Cook on the night of Cook's decision appeared to lack the honesty and integrity that one would expect from the Lake County GOP Chairman, who fashions himself as a conservative. For Neerhof to be told by Cook that Shaw had his campaign up and running when Neerhof's campaign team was ready to go after his six month Primary campaign challenging Turelli was incredulous. Cook's s alleged statement to Neerhof that Louis Atsaves no longer supported Neerhof turned out to be a lie based on a rumor. Writing the account of the 58th House race was not a vindictive act by me. It was based on integrity. Sadly integrity seems to be in short change now days, especially in politics among its political leaders and legislators. People must care. Sadly enough, people are willing to go with the flow as enablers of those who profit by pulling the wool over our eyes. Hopefully enough Republicans will care and act.
Jen July 05, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Time to move on. The real enemy is Mike Madigan and his minions who have all but bankrupted our state. As a staunch conservative who voted for Neerhof in the primary, I believe, based on my review of the candidates, that Bob Cook made a perfectly rational and defensible choice in selecting Mark Shaw and he is clearly the better candidate than his Democrat opponent to save our state from economic ruin. I also believe he will be a better candidate than Neerhof, an able man, but a political neophyte without Shaw's organizational or political skills. No other discussion is relevant. To rehash how the sausage was made here plays right into the Dems hands, and smacks of sour grapes, at best. And the insinuations about integrity or lack thereof? Completely and utterly without merit. There used to be a time in this country when folks would not accuse others, in a public forum, of a lack of integrity, unless they could back it up with facts. The only "facts" seem to be that Cook made a rational, completely defensible judgment call and slated Shaw. And Shaw accepted. Now can we move on and save our state by winning as many races as possible and ousting Mike Madigan? Please?
Me July 05, 2012 at 08:59 AM
So Nancy, answer the question. Are you going to do the honorable thing and follow through on your promise to resign?
Scout July 05, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Yes, well done. Let's shift our eyes to 'big, bad' Mike Madigan and shoot the messenger. When do we hold hands and sing under the conveniently expanded GOP tent? Interested parties please check your integrity at the door and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
Carl Lambrecht July 06, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Dr. Neerhof was considered an outsider and frowned upon by the Republican Establishment in Lake County. Neerhof also didn't measure up to the standards of legislators Tom Cross wanted sent to Springfield. The real issue is corruption made legal by the Republican and Democrat establishment. Follow the money. Look who gives money for corrupt laws. Look who votes for corruption. Neerhof is someone who could not be trusted to vote for corruption. Hopefully Shaw has them fooled or does he have us fooled? Time will tell. Look how Cross votes? Would Neerhof/Shaw vote this way?
Jen July 06, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Of course, this is nonsense.
Scout July 06, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Well said, Carl. Dr. Neerhof would have made a fine representative...it is our loss (our=constituents of the 58th). Too bad so many other folks in the GOP are caught up in people pleasing and towing the party line (some things in Lake County never change)...and these same people wonder why our state is so messed up. Gee? I wonder? Oh, yes, it must be big bad Mike Madigan's fault...how foolish of me...it certainly couldn't be our own party's leadership...golly jeepers, no.
Jack Koenig July 06, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Hmmm.... "Karma The Chameleon," does that mean you're a democrat in Republican clothing?
Jack Koenig July 06, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I may be wrong, but Cross may rue the day he supported Shaw. Although Shaw is his own man, he does listen to others. As far as the good Doctor is concerned, I didn't mention in my above response to Thorner, that I also argued against Shaw when he wanted the West Deerfield Central Committee to endorse Turelli in the Primary - and I prevailed. And no, Shaw didn't go away pouting, but rather picked-up where he left off. With respect to skulduggery in Springfield, I've never suggested the pubs were "Lilly White." But if you could forward some particulars of their alleged corruption, I'd love to see them. As you know from the many years you have known me, I'm also very much against corruption... especially in our own Party.
Nancy J. Thorner July 06, 2012 at 05:45 PM
In reference to Jack Koeneg's comment about "Karma The Chameleon," even if it were true, there are also many Republicans who don Democratic clothing here in Lake County and down in Springfield. This is why I was threatened several times by Lake County Republican Establishment members never to call any Republican a RINO (Republican In Name Only). At this point the Republican Party is the minority party and will continue to be so in Illinois, as keeping the status quo seems acceptable to Republican Establishment movers and shakers both locally and in Springfield. It is crazy to expect different result when those elected remain political "insiders." Additionally, why should Illinois voters select a Republican over a Democrat when Republican candidates themselves often differs little from their Democrats counterparts. When the difference is obvious, Republican candidates are often unable to articulate their differences in a meaningful way to the voting public. About tackling corruption, Jack, this would be deeply frowned upon by the Republican Establishment in all quarter. You wouldn't remain long in Springfield by challenging the status quo, as Tom Cross maintains his control and power as the Republican Minority Leader though the loyalty he demands from those Republican legislators who join him in the House floor.
Nancy J. Thorner July 06, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Despite attempts to present in a positive way a questionable situation -- originately mostly from those who reside in Deerfield West Township -- there are points of discussion that the voting public has a right to know that remain deeply troubling in the Shaw/Neerhof decision. Why? Because Dr. Neerhof made a good showing in the March Primary Elections, losing by only 580 votes to Turelli, who had a tremendous name recognition advantage over Neerhof having run in 2010 against Karen May. Below are a few unanswered questions that call for clarification because of what they seem to infer. 1. Why wasn't Dr. Neerhof asked if he wished to continue his campaign when Turelli quit the race in June? His campaign team was in place and ready to go. 2. Why did Mark Shaw's name even come up for consideration, serving as he did as Lauren Turelli's campaign manager? If Shaw thought he was a worthy candidate for the 58th District, why didn't he enter the race intially instead of Turelli? 3. Why did Turelli's campaign receive more than $50,000 from the HRO (House Republican Organization) managed by Minority Republican Leader Tom Cross in Springfield, while Neerhof's campaign received none, after Neeroff was informed that the HRO never became involved during primary campaigns?
Jack Koenig July 06, 2012 at 07:43 PM
It is very true that many Republoicans can't articulate their positions or even their knowledge. It is also something being addressed by a number of groups including the Communications Committee, the Socrates Project, and a soon to be established (hopefully) Candidate University. The Lake County Republican Party under Bob Cook and the current Central Committee are not sitting still. Unfortunately, you seem to be out of the loop and have been for some time. As far as corruption in Springfield is concerned, I'm still asking for specifics instead of your scatter gun claims. I'm sure, that with a bit of digging you can uncover something, because quite frankly the only time we walk on water is when it's raining.
Nancy J. Thorner July 06, 2012 at 08:06 PM
It might further be questioned how Bob Cook, as Lake County GOP Chairman, along with the input of others, could assume that Mark Shaw's manner of campaigning would win the seat over what Dr. Neerhof had to offers voters? Could it be that that Dr. Mark Neerhof was not considered part of the Lake County Republican Establishment and was frowned upon as an outsider. On the other hand, Mark Shaw, as an entrenched political insider and Establishment member, received unconditional support from the Establishment because he fit in and would protect the status quo in Springfield. What happened is not an isolated incident. It occurs in both poltical party and at all levels of goverment. Politicans are not about to end political maneuverings with their promise of bringing increased power and control, even though the process is turning off conservatives and independents alike. The Shaw/Neerhof decision should be faced head on for how it happened and what it represents, but does the public even care!
LittleMsSunshine July 06, 2012 at 08:33 PM
In response to Jen, A conservative---Is that the same type of conservative as Chief Justice John Roberts?
Scout July 06, 2012 at 11:40 PM
You are right Nancy...anyone can say who they are or what they are, but when the rubber meets the road, people have to either stand for something or fall for anything. Thank you for sticking to your principles while many 'party leaders' want us all to join hands, sing & drink the Kool Aid. The public does care--thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Carl Lambrecht July 07, 2012 at 01:56 AM
In responding to your comment about Nancy Thorner being out of the loop, who isn't out of the loop except those who are in charge of policy and in running the Lake County Republican Party, which includes status quo elective office holders and other status quo Republican movers and shakers. Being a moderate, few of our kind are allowed to enter the inner circle where most of the deals are cut, yet our votes are highly sought after at election time. Regarding corruption, it is in the mind of the beholder. Frankly it sounds rather naive to say that a bit of digging would be necessary to uncover corruption in Springfield. As Nancy Thorner is not involved in Springfield, how could she possibly keep tabs on the goings on in Springfield? in Chicago area newspaper in contrast to how through the presentation is in the southern part of Illinois. If you want to see corruption read the Illinois School Code. I don't think it would be wise to ask Nancy Thorner to point out corruption here in Lake County. Perhaps this is why you asked Nancy to zero in on corruption only down in Springfield? I have read articles written by Nancy Thorner, with documented sources exposing corrupt activities within the Lake County Republican Party among the Establishment. Be careful what you ask for, Jack!
Margie July 07, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Nancy, that's a serious charge - that you have been threatened by "The Establishment" if you use the term "RINOs." What kind of threats were they and specifically, who made them? No one is allowed to threaten anyone! Please post your answer!
Carl Lambrecht July 08, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Jack, Yes I know you are against corruption. Your words give me hope.
Nancy J. Thorner July 09, 2012 at 03:19 AM
For Margie: I would like to post a comment in response to your request on July 7, but I'm sure naming those who threatened me would not be permissible by the Lake Forester Patch editor, only because that type of post if frowned upon for obvious reason. I do accept the reasoning behind limiting information of this sort in a post. If you wish to talk to me privately, Margie, I would suggest that you give me a call. I'm the only Thorner in the entire Chicagoland besides a stepson who lives in Oak Brook.


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