Of all of the criticisms of State Rep. Paul Froehlich (D-Schaumburg) launched in recent days, the most ludicrous is that Froehlich is somehow responsible for longtime conservative gadfly Terry Parke's loss to Hoffman Estates Trustee Fred Crespo.
Let's look at the facts:
1. Terry Parke's voting record was his own worst enemy. Parke's 100% Pro-Gun, 100% Anti-Choice, 100% pro-insurance industry voting record was out of touch with suburban voters. He was hammered for it by the Crespo/Madigan campaign operation, and its the reason the Chicago Tribune handed Crespo the endorsement.
2. The district, it is a changin'. Parke walked the conservative line when it came to immigrant issues, enabling Crespo, a Latino, to mobilize the district's rapidly growing Latino population -- and other immigrants. According to the 2000 Census, Hanover Park is 27% Latino, 25% of the households in Schaumburg speak a language other than English at home, and in Hoffman Estates 30% of households are non-English speakers.
3. Parke spent money like Paris Hilton. Parke outspent Crespo $380K to $130K, but a closer look at Parke's filings with the State Board of Elections raises serious questions about Parke's resource management abilities. Parke spent $133,884 on a single Elmhurst consultant in five months, over $8,000 on newspaper ads (always a waste of money), over $3,500 on t-shirts, emery boards and other trinkets, nearly $2,500 in donations to local business groups, and over $3,300 on pizza and other food (one pizza party ran up a nearly $600 tab). As Burt Natarus proved, you can raise all the money you want, but if you spend it like Paris Hilton, it ain't gonna help your re-election efforts.
4. Cross bailed on Parke. The House Republican Organization made a total of $40,000 in contributions to Parke's Tier One race, mainly for staff, even though Terry Parke was telling Statehouse types back in the Spring that he would be Madigan's #1 target. By contrast, HRO spent over $200K on Aaron Schock's Tier One race in 2004 and a whopping $530,000 over six months trying to push John Caveletto over Kurt Granberg. Parke barely got more help than newcomer Sandy Cole did the same year, for a Tier Two race.
5. There's no evidence of voter suppression. The attack on Froehlich is that his organization laid down on Terry Parke and failed to get out the GOP vote. However, according to the State Board of Elections, voter turnout was up by 7% in 2006 and 1,300 more ballots were cast (compared to 2002, the previous non-presidential election). Interestingly, Jesse Macro, Parke's Democratic opponent in 2002, spent only $16,000 and got 7,140 votes without an ounce of help from Madigan. It's not difficult to understand why increasing spending on a race tenfold, sending in top notch staff and precinct captains would add 3100 votes four years later.
Finally, but most importantly, even if Froehlich is responsible for Parke's departure, its a little hypocritical for House Republicans to criticize him since not one of their caucus misses him. "Despised" is not too strong a word to describe how many of his former colleagues felt about Parke, especially his suburban colleagues, and especially female lawmakers. They used words ranging from "creepy" to stuff that can't be reprinted to describe him. Just as telling, despite decades of carrying water for the insurance industry and other business groups, not one single statehouse lobbyist has offered Parke a job, despite his months of searching.