Straight Talk | Weaver out for mayor, but why?



State Senator Chuck Weaver months ago announced he was not going to seek re-election. A regular guest on our morning show on FM 90.7, Weaver said he had other options to explore in which he could serve the public. Some suggested he believed the political climate in Springfield was rather depressing since Democrats control everything. In conversations with Weaver, we were unable to confirm that was his reason for not filing to be re-elected to the 37th Senatorial District.

When Jim Ardis announced he had no further desire to be mayor, Weaver let it be known among friends he was going to throw his hat in the ring. But then, so did At-Large City Councilman Sid Ruckriegel. Unlike Weaver, Ruckriegel immediately went public with the news. It appeared that the race for mayor was really going to come down to four front runners: Sid Ruckriegel, Jim Montelango, Rita Ali and Chuck Weaver. Other announced mayoral candidates, fine people, have neither the money or name recognition to be competitive. Many political observers were of the opinion that Weaver had the best chance out of the four to be elected.

Then something strange happened on the last day for filing petitions for the Feb. 23 primary election. Weaver arrived at the Peoria County Election Commission on Brandywine Drive with petitions in hand and spoke with Tom Bride, commission director. We don’t know the nature of the conversation, but we do know Weaver left without filing. He never returned before the 5 p.m. Monday deadline.

Supporters for Weaver were surprised, disappointed and confused, in that order. We called Chuck for some answers. Since the cordial chat was personal and rather vague, and since I don’t have his permission, I’m only able to say he was also surprised and disappointed, but for a different reason. I think he changed his mind about running because of the response he received from people he respected and admired after he revealed his decision to run for mayor. The support he expected wasn’t there. I’m told virtually every high profile Republican had already committed to supporting Ruckriegel.

Another rumor floating around is many Republicans were, and remain, upset that Weaver chose Win Stoller to replace him for state senator without consulting party leadership.

The bottom line is Chuck Weaver, with his knowledge, wisdom, and experience, will not be on the primary ballot. I think he would’ve been one of two finalists for the April general election. It will still be an exciting contest for mayor. Questions remain, including, who will Chuck Weaver support, if anyone? Stay tuned.

Reaction to vaccine shots

Not everyone was in a celebratory mood when Gov. JB Pritzker came to town to join in a public relations event with OSF Healthcare promoting five of their healthcare workers receiving the anti-virus vaccine. That same day, 117 people died from the deadly disease in the state and several passed away in the Peoria area. Hardly a time to applaud and cheer. We’re all excited, but measured, remembering people are still getting sick and dying, businesses are closing for good, people are unemployed, and hearings are being held in LaSalle to learn why 33 veterans died in a home where they’re supposed to be protected from the virus. I’ve been in public relations for decades. These kind of events are inappropriate and ill-timed.

Quote of the month

“Light tomorrow with today.”
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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