Claude Walker | Bicentennial-By-Buttons


Following Congressman Sid Yates's 1998 decision to retire, JB Pritzker threw his hat in the ring, along with State Sen. Howie Carroll and State Rep. Jan Schakowsky. A 3-way brawl. Election Day was sleety. As a volunteer for Jan, I could see Howie's old Machine guys were staying warm inside the polls and many of JB's hired hands disappeared. Schakowsky won and has held the seat ever since. The value of a strong ground game.

Pritzker's 1998 mailers proclaim he's "not afraid to take on the NRA". He'll have a chance to prove that soon enough. (Note he was using the "big" line even then.) I gotta say: the man looks pretty much the same now as in '98.

JB 98JB 98

JB 98JB 98JB 98


 I thought the logo for Fred Lebed's brief Comptroller race (against young Dan Hynes) was clever and witty. FedEx apparently didn't.

NO WellerNO EdgarNo Bozos Chicago Button Museum

NO NO NO! Jerry Weller was raised on a hog farm, served 7 terms in Congress and wed the daughter of a Nicaraguan dictator. For more on Edgar, visit Gallery #9: Ex-Guvs (Unjailed Variety). "No Bozo" courtesy Busy Beaver Museum.

 Pressl, Balanoff, Adelman Balanoff

Three who ran and lost but would've been stellar Congressmen. FULL DISCLOSURE: This author knew them all, was Field/Media Director for Pressl's tough race against Cong. Phil Crane (See Gallery #30 - Lagniappes), and hung out with Bill Adelman's daughter in the '70s. Adelman - "an able man" - was a noted labor historian and DuPage Dem when those were few. 

Roger Kotecki

This author knew Roger at NIU. Very smart, genuine guy who had a good career in DuPage County government and is now a storyteller-musician.

 Ben's Back Back Ben Political Button Museum  Ben Adamowski was a State Rep & State's Attorney, then lost to Daley the Elder for Mayor. He lost a comeback in 1970 for Assessor. See Gallery #32 - Trailblazers: Polish-Americans. (Adamowski buttons courtesy Busy Beaver Museum.)I Like Ben Political Button Museum

Kasper Sheriff

What? There’s a Chicago GOP? And one guy ran it for 31 years? Son of Polish immigrants, Lou Kasper was a WWII veteran and veteran Illinois payroller. As long-time 30th Ward GOP Committeeman, his high-water mark may have been Epton’s 83% win over Harold in ’83. Kasper spent a half-century serving the public at the Tollway, Secretary of State, CMS, Cook County Sheriff/State’s Attorney, more. His list of bosses is a who’s who of that era of GOP politics: Ben Adamowski, Joe Woods, Bernie Carey, Big Jim Thompson, "Tylenol" Ty Fahner, Jim Edgar…

Tony PeraicaMulack Gainer 

Ty FahnerBack Jack

Pete Bensinger Sheriff Political Button Museum Hansen Commissioner Political Button Museum  Haider Mayor Political Button MuseumStone for Cook County Political Button Museum

Gotta love a sheriff-badge shaped button. Republicans haven't fared well in Cook County, but ex-Chicago cop Terry Gainer, after losing the State's Attorney race to a young lad named Daley, went on to be Chief of both Illinois State Police and the U.S. Capitol Police, and is now Congress's Sergeant-at-Arms. Similarly, Pete Bensinger went from running the State Pen to losing a Cook County Sheriff race to Dick Elrod to the DEA. (Bensinger, Hansen, Haider & Stone buttons courtesy of Busy Beaver Museum)

LaSalle DemsPennie 

Dem activist Pennie von Bergen Wessels won a House seat in Deep Red NW Illinois by about 300 votes in '92, then lost in '94 (also by about 300 votes). She had represented that area of Illinois on the Citizens Utility Board (CUB); one of this author's favorite people in politics.Dave Neal Dave Neal (Grundy County pol, not the Lite Guv who resigned from boredom). Shoulda read "Be a Whistleblower!"

AlexiPastel CoronerLee DanielsFrank MautinoProviso DemsRock DeLeoRichard PhelanSilversteinTom HomerTom MurphyMcAfee

Love that dreamy pastel Coroner's button. Before becoming Mayor of Indian Head Park and State Rep from the SW Suburbs, Dave McAfee was an inventor, creating (I think) the pop-top aluminum can.

3 Claude Walkers

Three Claude Walkers (see the resemblance?) Permit the indulgence. Pop, Dad & I batted 3 for 7 in State House races in 3 different parts of Illinois.

After serving 3 terms representing parts of Cook County's Proviso & Berwyn Townships, Pop lost in the infamous statewide at-large "bed-sheet ballot". According to family lore, Pop punched out a lobbyist in a Springfield elevator. The guy supposedly muttered something about Pop being a "dumb Polack"...Pop (an ex-semi-pro linebacker and past Prez of the Illinois Newspaper Association) reportedly replied, "Not so dumb."

Elected to the DuPage County Board at 31, Dad represented Addison & York Townships for 6 years, then lost a House race to Pate Philip (who went on to be Senate Prez). See Gallery #30 "Lagniappes". 

I ran twice (16 years apart) in a District including Chicago's East and West Rogers Park & Edgewater neighborhoods, both times against incumbents who were sons of Machine stalwarts (am I a dope or what?) The Attorney General of the Virgin Islands is named Claude Walker, as well as a past Alabama lawmaker and late East Knoxville park relations.


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