Thursday, September 27, 2007

Peickert Responds to Ferraro and Bisceglie

Recently, Democratic precinct committeepersons received a letter from Gayl Ferraro and an e-mail from Rob Bisceglie. (Editor note: The text of Ferraro's letter can be read here and Bisceglie's email is here.) I want the chairs and township precinct committeemen and other members of your organization to know that neither Operation Turn DuPage Blue nor I have any intention of getting drawn into a "he said/she said" type of political posturing especially when we need to spend our time meeting recruiting deadlines so that we can, at long last, elect Democrats in DuPage.

Let me just say this: I adamantly disagree with Rob's recollection and Gayl's characterization of the events of the last nine months and have e-mails and other correspondence to substantiate my position. I will be happy to speak with anyone who wants to hear my recollection of events and see the supporting documents.

From this point forward, I will keep all of my focus on doing more of the work that OTDB has been doing since early January. For example, at an OTDB phone bank on Saturday afternoon, we recruited three more Democratic precinct committeemen. They and the many others who have joined OTDB because of our extensive and ceaseless outreach will have the opportunity in February to run as elected precinct committeemen. And, prior to the phone bank, OTDB helped organize a petition-signing event for DuPage Democrats running for public office.

Under the leadership of a very capable steering committee, OTDB has involved the Democrats of DuPage in meaningful and productive political work. In just the past nine months, OTDB has:

  • Coordinated and fielded over 300 people in ten parades from March to September,

  • Conducted three precinct committeeman trainings,

  • Hosted author and politico Dick Simpson to address the unique needs of this election cycle to our members,

  • Generated unprecedented energy for Democratic politics in DuPage through the use of our various media and personal outreach efforts,

  • Supported the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans golf outing to honor the inspiring work of fellow Dem candidate Dirk Enger,

  • Attracted and hosted a premier national campaign training (Wellstone Action) to the heart of DuPage County,

  • Arranged and hosted a professional media and message discipline training for 2008 local candidates,

  • Organized a fundraiser to support previous Democratic candidates, who showed the courage to run against the DuPage Republican machine,

  • Created an unmatched data base, e-newsletter and web presence that draws in new active Democrats everyday and developed an aggressive and highly effective precinct committeemen recruitment program.

In situations where townships and the county were doing good outreach, OTDB has been in attendance consistently. OTDB:

  • Sent two steering committee members to the Bloomingdale/Wayne Democrats fundraiser and parade.

  • Supported the recent Milton Township fundraiser in which OTDB Executive Director Amy Tauchman played a major role. I attended along with several OTDB steering committee members. (Neither Rob nor Gayl nor any of the county officers was there.)

  • Host sponsored the Naperville Township Democrats fundraiser attended by a number of OTDB members including myself.

  • Recruited between 50 and 60 Democrats to march in the Naperville Labor Day parade. I marched with many OTDB members many of whom rejoined the parade to march with Lisle Township. (Neither Rob nor Gayl was there.)

  • Supported the county golf outing by participating as a hole sponsor.

  • Participated in the county precinct recruitment effort. (Neither Rob nor Gayl participated.)

  • Co-sponsored a Labor Day picnic with Addison, York and Bloomingdale Township Democrats. (Neither Rob nor Gayl nor any other county officer was there.)

  • Co-sponsored a booth this summer at the Back to School Fair in Wheaton along with the York Township Democrats. Doug Cole, Dan Bailey and I were there all day. (Neither Rob nor Gayl nor any other county officer was there.)

  • Marched in numerous parades in conjunction with six of nine Democratic townships since March.

  • Held two fundraisers: one to help defer the legal bills for Rita Gonzalez and me and a second to support OTDB's precinct work. Both fundraisers were attended or supported by several township chairs. (Again, neither Rob nor Gayl nor any other county officer participated.)

As to comments made about my attendance at county meetings, it was made manifestly clear that my participation and offers of assistance were not welcomed. So, I have been focused on accomplishing through OTDB, with much success, what Democrats have not been able to accomplish by working under the county organization as it is currently operated.

It is not divisive to speak your mind about a system that has not been as effective as it needs to be. And it is not sensible to continue following that same pattern of leadership and expect miraculously different results. However, in order to dispel any lingering perception of divisiveness, OTDB will happily forego the rigors of a special election and will not oppose Rob for interim chair. And, so there is no misunderstanding, I will run for the position of Chair of the DuPage County Democratic Party at the 2008 county convention when all of the newly elected precinct committeemen will be allowed to vote for the person they believe should lead the party for the next 2 years. Any debate or discussion of the future of the party can continue after the candidate petition drive is over and the petitions are filed.

As to the concept of unity, please take a look at the names on the proposed Democratic cabinet posted on for the past two weeks. Among them you will find several current county officers and chairs, members of OTDB and new Democratic activists we have garnered along the way. Sweeping changes in the times and in the electorate demand that Democrats broaden our coalition and sharpen our tactics and resolve. I believe that OTDB and I have done just that and we have the results to show it.

We do not intend to stop until the Republican hold on DuPage County has been relinquished.

It is time to get Democrats elected in DuPage.

I may be reached by e-mail at or by phone 630-421-2405.

--Bob Peickert

Update: Added links to Ferraro and Bisceglie's messages.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saying Thanks, and Staying Focused on What Really Matters

From Bob Peickert:

Chill! Relax! Take a Deep Breath!

As a result of the recent announcement of the resignation of Gayl Ferraro as Chair of the DuPage County Democratic Organization, we will undoubtedly be hearing and reading about everyone's "take" on her decision. What's to "take"? She made a decision and the party moves on.

First, I want to thank Gayl for her work on behalf of Democrats in DuPage County. I readily admit that Gayl and I have had our differences, disagreements, and you might say battles, but she did spend a lot of time doing what she believed to be the right thing. As we decide on the direction of the Democratic Party, we should all recognize work that people do whether we agree with them or not. Thank you, Gayl, for your work on behalf of Democrats in DuPage County.

Second, I want to comment briefly on the impact of Gayl's decision. The newspapers already predict some type of "battle" for the position. However, what ultimately happens doesn't depend too much on who the chair will be for a two or three month period. And, we also need to remember that the chair is only one person of many who will be called upon to lead the party in the future. There are many unanswered questions about the interim election, but, more importantly, there are unanswered questions about our plan to elect Democrats in DuPage in 2008. THAT’S THE REAL ISSUE.

We must get our precincts ready for the upcoming campaigns by recruiting precinct committeemen. This is what we started with OTDB back in January, and this is what we must continue to do. OTDB will continue to work on our recruitment drive and to reach out to as many Democrats as possible in the next year. Let's not get distracted, and let's not lose our focus. Electing Democrats in 2008 is what this is all about.

Friday, September 14, 2007


From today's Daily Herald:
DuPage County Democratic Organization leader Gayl Ferraro will step down today, several months earlier than her anticipated retirement. That decision speeds up the battle for the chairman's job brewing between Democratic Organization Vice-Chair Rob Bisceglie and Bob Peickert, president of Turn DuPage Blue, a rival Democrat group. Party rules require a special election be held not less than 30 days and within 60 days of the resignation. Ferraro had said earlier she would depart after the Feb. 5 primary.

Interestingly, the party has yet to send out any notification about this over its email list. One can presume that this decision wasn't made at the drop of a hat, so why is the party membership, to which the chair is supposedly responsible, the last to know?

So-called Austin Mayor has a couple of earlier but still noteworthy posts on the situation in DuPage. Here is one. Here is another, in which the so-called Mr. Mayor makes this point:
Anyone trying to fix the problems afflicting the DuPage County Democratic Party will necessarily have to identify the problems afflicting the DuPage County Democratic Party.

Ignoring the problems will not make them go away.

Taking an honest, i.e. critical, look at the county party's shortcomings is essential to ever making the DuPage County Democratic Party effective.

Update: It appears that township chairs, at least, were informed of Gayl's resignation before it appeared in the Herald.

Michelle Barton Agrees To First Vice-Chair Slot on Ticket with Bob Peickert for DuPage County Democratic Party Leadership

Michelle Barton, Naperville Township Democratic Organization Vice-Chair for Volunteer Coordination, has agreed to run for the position of First Vice-Chair of the DuPage County Democratic Party along with Chair candidate Bob Peickert, First Vice-Chair of Addison Township and Chair of Operation: Turn DuPage Blue.

“Michelle Barton is an emerging superstar within the DuPage Democratic Party. Michelle was supportive of my initial offer to Rob Bisceglie. When Rob declined, I didn’t hesitate calling Michelle,” stated Peickert, who also praised her for organizing the Naperville Labor Day parade that had over 100 Democrats marching together. “That says it all about Michelle. Her ability to bring people together is what made this any easy choice.”

In her presentation at the Naperville Township fundraiser, Barton challenged the crowd by saying: “Ask not what Democrats can do for you, but what you can do for Democrats throughout DuPage County. We are at a turning point, and Democracy is not a spectator sport. It means rolling up our sleeves, picking up phones, talking to neighbors, and getting people out to vote.”

Barton said she will continue to work with the Naperville Township Democratic Organization in her role as Volunteer Coordinator, which includes precinct committeeman recruitment. Peickert said that he and Barton will work together on a plan for the county structure. “Michelle and I are in complete agreement on the need to broaden the party structure so that more people are involved from the existing county leadership, township organizations, OTDB, and all interested Democrats.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bisceglie Declines OTDB Unity Offer

Rob Bisceglie, 1st Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of DuPage County, has turned down Chair candidate Bob Peickert’s proposal to run together on a “unity ticket” following the departure of current Chair, Gayl Ferraro.

According to Peickert, “I was informed yesterday by Rob that he intends to run against me for Chair. I am disappointed that Rob didn't recognize the opportunity that a combined ticket would have presented for the Democratic Party.

“While I respect Rob’s decision and look forward to a great contest, what I find most disappointing is the fact that Rob presented a “slate” that did not contain even a single person active in Operation: Turn DuPage Blue.”

Last month, Peickert, Chair of Operation Turn DuPage Blue, reached out to Bisceglie inviting him to run on a unity ticket for the top two county positions. The OTDB Steering Committee fully supported Peickert's offer as an attempt to dispel lingering perceptions of division within the party.

Peickert, who in recent months has helped forge greater alliances between OTDB and the Democratic township organizations, indicated that he would continue to support Bob Jeffers as county treasurer. “Bob has done an excellent job as treasurer and I hope he will continue.”

Peickert also said that he will soon be announcing his plans for the county and his choice for 1st Vice-Chair. As to the other positions, Peickert said: “If elected, I plan to bring together those people from OTDB, from the current county leadership, and from other sources who will work hard and get the job done. That has to be the bottom line. I intend to make this a campaign about DuPage Democrats working together with a vision for the future.”

Monday, September 10, 2007

A note from Naperville Township Chair Tom Wronski, newest OTDB Steering Committee member

Dear Operation Turn DuPage Blue:

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Operation Turn DuPage Blue for the assistance it has provided to the Naperville Township Democratic Organization, and to commend the organization for its fine efforts.

Bob Peickert, Amy Tauchman and the folks at OTDB are doing excellent work. Their "roll-up our sleeves and get to work" approach is inspiring. Although the Naperville Township Democratic Organization adheres to a policy of "self-sufficiency" -- that is, we do not ask for help from outside organizations if at all possible -- OTDB has repeatedly reached out to the NTDO on a "proactive" basis. Most recently, OTDB sent a large contingent to the Naperville Labor Day parade. One of our key members, Michelle Barton, is also an OTDB member. OTDB has done these things without setting pre-conditions for the assistance, and without asking for anything from NTDO in return. That is my definition of leadership.

As we have discussed, my focus is strictly limited to building the Democratic Party in the Naperville area, and I have no plans to, or interest in becoming involved in DuPage County Democratic politics outside of this sphere. Nonetheless, I have decided to accept your invitation to serve on the OTDB steering committee because I appreciate your proactive approach, and I anticipate that serving on your steering committee will further benefit the NTDO.

The fact that I have joined the OTDB steering committee should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any particular candidate who may be seeking, or may in the future seek, an elected position within the Democratic Party in DuPage County -- either by me personally, or by me in my official capacity as NTDO Chair. Indeed, I look forward to continuing to work with OTDB, and with all Democratic, Labor and like-minded organizations that share our goals, and I recognize the efforts and great strides being made by others to build up the Democratic Party in DuPage County.

Once again, thank you OTDB for all of your hard work.


Thomas J. Wronski


From Operation: Turn DuPage Blue Chair Bob Peickert:

We are extremely pleased to have Tom serve on our steering committee, and we appreciate his comments about the work of OTDB. We look forward to working with Tom and the Naperville Township Democratic Organization to elect Democrats in 2008.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Why turning DuPage 'Blue' isn't just a pigment of our imagination:

According to Robert T. Saar, Executive Director for the DuPage County Election Commission (in a FOIA reponse last month), in the 2004 general election in DuPage County, there were:

174,063 Republicans
99,095 Democrats
246,607 Independents
11,970 Nonpartisan

Certainly the gap between professed Republicans and Democrats seems quite wide, yet with more Democratic-minded individuals moving into DuPage, ongoing dissension over the Bush administration and the Iraq War, and the likelihood of a Democratic presidential candidate with Illinois roots -- plus strides made by 2006 Democratic candidates -- you can see where this gap may no longer remain so large.


This Washington Post article states that in 2006, Independents were voting Democratic 2 to 1. If anything, this left-leaning preference has increased over the past year. Carrying this out to mean that 164,000 Independents vote left in DuPage, while 82,000 Independents vote right, that would make the tally approximately:

263,000 Democrats
256,000 Republicans

But before "we" declare victory, realize that DuPage may have been completely "Red" all these years for reasons superceding the proclivities of its voting populace (and no, I'm not talking about Election fraud; I'll leave that to others).

In the past some DuPage "independents" may have been swayed by the seemingly Right-leaning mindset of "most of their neighbors," especially with Republicans filling their Precincts with Committee(wo)men. To win, we need to do the same, and show everyone that there is no reason to be bashful, embarrassed or guilty about voting for Democratic candidates in DuPage.

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