Saturday morning over coffee and muffins, approximately 40 of the Oak Park Republican faithful talked politics at what amounted to a local GOP breakfast at Petersen’s Ice Cream on Chicago Avenue. More notable than the number of people, however, was who showed up. Two former Oak Park Township GOP committeemen, Paul Sengpiehl and Richard Willis, joined newly elected Committeeman Marlene Lynch in discussing the best ways to further the Oak Park and statewide GOP agenda.
“I think it’s really meaningful that not just Marlene is here, but Richard Willis is here, and Paul Sengpiehl is here,” said Republican activist Les Golden. “They’ve all come together to build up the party.”
Sengpiehl declared the get-together “a good beginning. We have a good nucleus of people willing to come out and work for the Republican Party.”
Lynch expressed satisfaction, saying she was happy with both the turnout and the tone of the breakfast.
“I met a lot of good people today,” she said.
Willis lost the committeeman seat to Lynch 699-489 on March 22. Despite that defeat, he insisted that he is a dedicated Republican who intends to work with Lynch to help rejuvenate the Republican Party in Oak Park.
Willis was likely comforted by the victory of his candidate in the 7th District GOP State Committeeman’s race. Last Wednesday Carol Smith Donovan was elected to serve a full four-year term as State Central Committee after being narrowly elected last November over Clark Pellett, Lynch’s brother.
That election had reportedly been close, with the winning margin being less than one percent. But it wasn’t the case this time, as Donovan piled up 5,729 votes to Pellett’s 2,966.
With the intra-party campaigns now concluded, Lynch and Willis stood talking with each other well past the breakfast’s 10 a.m. conclusion. They had much to talk about, including ways to assist with the candidacy of gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka, U.S. Rep. candidate Chad Hutchinson, and Cook County Board presidential candidate Tony Peraica.
Willis also said controversy stemming from recent coverage of the Oak Park GOP committeeman election and the StopTopinka.com website incorrectly made it seem like he wasn’t a Judy Baar Topinka supporter.
“I was one of the first people to sign up for Judy Baar Topinka,” he insisted. “I’ve always supported her.”
Lynch, meanwhile, has opened a new Oak Park GOP Township office at 1131 Lake St. Breakfast attendee Cheryl Weiss, a longtime Oak Park Republican, expressed faith in Lynch’s leadership, saying, “She’ll do a good job. She’ll be inclusive.”