Here we are on the backstretch of July! Where has this year gone? Time flies when you least expect it.
It has been announced by the Illinois State Board of Elections that petitioning for the 2024 primaries will begin on Tuesday, September 5. Believe it or not, that’s 47 days from today.
On September 5, our eight established counties — Cook, DeWitt, Kankakee, McHenry, McLean, Montgomery, Peoria, and Tazewell — will be circulating petitions in next March’s Libertarian primary. These counties are holding these primaries because of previous efforts of the Libertarian Party of Illinois, whether from prior statewide campaigns or in the courtroom:
- McLean County has been established since the 2016 presidential election, courtesy of presidential nominee Gary Johnson.
- Kankakee County has been established since the 2018 statewide election, courtesy of state treasurer nominee Mike Leheney. Due to no candidates running in 2022, this county must be retained this cycle.
Five counties established in 2020
- Cook, DeWitt, McHenry, Peoria, and Tazewell counties were established from significant ballot access relief amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the shelter-in-place order from Gov. JB Pritzker. Candidates in fourteen counties ran on the ballot as a part of the outcome of Libertarian Party of Illinois v. Pritzker. However, these five counties — and their candidates — surpassed the 5% threshold to earn their local established party status.
- However, due to no countywide candidates running in DeWitt and Peoria counties in 2022, these are also must-retain counties for 2024. McHenry County is also a must-retain county.
- My home county in Montgomery County became established in the 2022 statewide election, courtesy of Attorney General nominee Dan Robin. All of this happened during my sabbatical from party activism — and the most I did for the campaign was write a Letter to the Editor for inclusion in all four of the county’s publications. (Only The Journal-News in Hillsboro and the Free Press-Progress in Nokomis ran the letter. The Litchfield News Herald and the Panhandle Press never opened the email.)
- Robin’s strongest showing in Montgomery County was in the county seat of Hillsboro. Don’t say that Letters to the Editor don’t make a difference. It most certainly did in this scenario. It resonated with independent voters and Democrats and Republicans who were sick and tired of the political grandstanding of Democratic incumbent Kwame Raoul and Republican challenger Tom DeVore.
Let’s build Things Up From Here
Sure, we have 94 counties that won’t be able to hold Libertarian primaries. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan on launching your campaign in any of those counties.
If fact, our master 2024 campaign strategy will focus on as many collar counties surrounding our eight established counties. Another part of this strategy will also focus on counties where our statewide candidates finished with at least 3.5%.
Executive Director Justin Tucker emailed many of you recently regarding a call to action for Libertarian candidates in 2024. Some of you have responded to Justin and/or myself in a rather quick fashion. With that said, I thank you for your prompt response.
I would love for us to hold even more Libertarian primaries in more counties going forward. What we do in 2024 will make an impact on 2026 and 2028, regardless of what the Democrats and Republicans think.
I posted this photo (at left) in our LPIL membership group earlier this month. The counties in red are counties that we must retain in 2024.
That lone orange county in Montgomery County is holding its inaugural primary in 2024.
The two counties in yellow (I’d rather call it gold) are the counties whose local status is good through 2026, just like Montgomery County.
NOTE: I didn’t discover until after I made this post — and while drafting my July 2023 Political Division report — that a candidate ran in a special election for State’s Attorney in Tazewell County during the 2022 election cycle. Gabe Casey received 18.4% of the vote in that election for a two-year unexpired term that will actually be up in 2024. That would actually keep Tazewell County out of the red and in good shape alongside Cook and McLean counties. The previous mention of Tazewell County not running countywide candidates has also been removed due to this revelation in discovery. I regret this unintentional error.
As you can see, we have a bit of a “Liberty Trail” in north central Illinois from Peoria County through to DeWitt County.
Your efforts in 2024 could extend this trail of established counties in any direction. Candidate efforts in Livingston and Ford counties could extend it toward Kankakee County. Those same efforts in Macon and Christian counties could also do the same in the direction of Montgomery County.
We’re not leaving Chicagoland out. Let’s work on getting candidates to capture established status in DuPage, Lake, and Will counties. Yes, the Chicagoland region counties are often the toughest counties to get on the ballot in when you’re a “new political party”/third party. The hard work will be more than worth it when the dividends result in another established county.