(Chicago, IL) — July 7, 2010. State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) surprised at least one local political observer by appointing Waukegan school board member and Democratic precinct captain Rita Mayfield-Jedkins to the Illinois House seat of the late State Rep. Eddie Washington (D-Waukegan) who died recently.
Accord to Daily Herald reporter Russell Lissau, Link, who is the Lake County Democratic Chairman, had publicly acknowledged only one candidate up until today:
The only applicant Link has publicly identified is Angelo Kyle, a Lake County Board member from Waukegan who twice challenged Washington in Democratic primaries for the House seat.
But that doesn’t mean Kyle is a shoo-in for the post.
“Everyone thought they knew what I was going to do in the 59th District, and they were wrong,” Link said, referring to last year’s appointment of Carol Sente to replace Kathy Ryg in the 59th House District.
In early June, Team America’s 10th District Blog, a local political observer, had bet heavily that Kyle would be Link’s pick.
“Why they [Lake County Democrats] are even going through the motions, I don’t know, since County Board member Angelo Kyle is going to get it,” wrote Team America on June 8.
As late as July 2 Team American was still placing its chips on Kyle. “… I suspect this is simply Terry Link trying to pretend that Kyle wasn’t a shoo-in all along, and he actually put more than 10 seconds worth of thought into the decision,” Team America commented at THE iLLINOIS OBSERVER on July 2.
Link’s decision to pass over Kyle is, however, is fairly straightforward. Kyle was a weak candidate. He failed twice to defeat Washington in the last two Democratic primaries. Appointing Kyle would just invite a primary challenge from some other ambitious Democrat, draining party cash on an inter-party contest.
Mayfield-Jedkins, on the other hand, won her school board seat as an insurgent candidate in 2007. That’s the type of candidate Link wants wants. A winner.
“Rita was on everyone’s short list,” Link said. “We liked the way she handled the school board issues in that she did not like and she went out and changed the mindset.”
Mayfield-Jedkins will face no Republican opposition in November.