Kendall Republican chairman steps down : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Kendall Republican chairman steps down|
|Toftoy's tenure ends March 1; central committee to name replacement |
|by Matt Schury|
Kendall County Coroner Ken Toftoy announced his resignation Tuesday as chairman of the Kendall County Republican Central Committee.
The resignation will take effect this Friday, March 1, according to a letter sent to, Matthew Prochaska, as the committee's secretary, precinct committeemen and party members.
In the resignation letter Toftoy said:
"I have spent more than 30 years working with precinct committeemen towards the Republican cause here in Kendall County. I have carried a lot of water to the elephant! I have enjoyed my time, but it is now time for someone else to step up and lead the party here in Kendall County. I am writing to let you know that I have tendered my resignation as Chairman of the Kendall County Republican Central Committee to Central Committee Secretary Matthew Prochaska, effective March 1, 2013."
Toftoy is currently precinct committeeman for Kendall 3. As of press time Toftoy could not be reached for further comment.
When elected as chairman in 2010, Toftoy said he wanted to work to make the GOP stronger in Kendall County.
"I want to make the party strong and get us together; this is the year we need to bury the hatchet," Toftoy said. "I want to be the Ronald Reagan of Kendall County: The great communicator."
According to the GOP Central Committee's bylaws, Joe Gillespie, the current vice chairman, will replace Toftoy as interim chairman March 1 until a permanent chairman is elected. The committee has up to 90 days to find a permanent replacement.
The committee will then hold a special county GOP convention during which all precinct committeemen will elect a new chairman. The voting is weighted according to the number of voters in each of the roughly 80 precincts that turned out for the last Republic primary election, Prochaska explained.
Toftoy is the fourth GOP chairman to step down in six years beginning with long-time party boss Dallas Ingemunson who resigned in 2007 after serving as chairman for 34 years.
Ingemunson was replaced briefly by Oswego resident Terry Peshia, a former Kendall County Board member.
Peshia's tenure as chair lasted until 2008 when he was replaced by Keith Wheeler of Oswego.
Toftoy, 57, has been coroner since 1992. He was re-elected last fall with 60 percent of the vote beating independent challenger Mike Dabney. Toftoy has indicated he will not run again for the office.
Gillespie praised Toftoy for his tenure as chairman.
"He's done a great job uniting the party and moving it forward and got a lot of things done for the party. We hope he doesn't run away completely," Gillespie said, adding that he isn't sure exactly why Toftoy resigned.
He mentioned that he hasn't decided if he would serve as permanent chairman but hasn't ruled it out.
"That's going to be a family decision obviously because it takes a lot of time and energy," he said. "I'm not closing the door on it in any way, shape or form."
Gillespie says he looks forward to the party continuing to unite as it had under Toftoy.
"I think we need to work with the Young Republicans and have them help us recruit. We have to make politics fun again and that's done by having decent events for people to come out and enjoy themselves and not beat each other up," he said. "I think that's why people don't like politics anymore because all we do is beat each other up."
Prochaska said he also looks forward to working with whoever is selected as new party chairman but does not intend to throw his own hat in the ring.
"Kenny Toftoy has served the party for a long time. He has done a good job as chairman. Whoever takes over is going to have some big shoes to fill," Prochaska said.
Prochaska added that it wasn't a complete surprise that Toftoy resigned.
"I know it's been talked about off and on for a couple of months but to have him actually resign is surprising," he said.
Prochaska, 26, spoke of the need of the party to attract more young people while mending its internal fighting.
"We have a very loyal membership base. We also have a lot of people getting involved. We have a growing number of youth getting involved in the party," he said.
Getting more active in the community and reaching out to young people, he added, is one thing the GOP must do to be able to move the party forward.
"We need to be able to get out into the precincts and...not have the perception that it is a bunch of stuffy old, middle aged men's club," he said.
In terms of political philosophy they will continue to follow the state and national platform. He said that some members agree with it completely and some don't.
"The Republican Party is a big tent and we are happy to have moderates, conservatives and even some liberal Republicans in the party," Prochaska said. "The biggest voices of descent are always going to be from the far left and the far right."
He added that three new chairmen in the last seven years is not a sign that the party is in flux or unstable. But he did say that party is trying to heal "from its very public feuds."
"The next chairman will continue uniting the party, making the Kendall County Republican party stronger," he said.
Scott Gryder, committeeman for Oswego Precinct 2, also commented that Toftoy did a good job getting young people involved, something that continues to be the mission of the GOP.
"He's carried a lot of water for the elephant," Gryder said. "He actually started the Kendall County Young Republicans once upon a time."
He added that he knows it wasn't an easy decision for Toftoy to step down.
"He had to do what was right for him and I guess the time was now," he said.
Gryder adder that the GOP needs to be more active in the community all the time, not just during an election.
"We can't just come out and ask for votes every couple of years," he said. "(The GOP) needs to get out and be part of the community and we need to reach out to a lot of new areas in the county."
When asked if he would consider the chairmanship, Gryder mentioned that hours after the announcement he was contacted by committee members asking him to run.
Gryder says he is honored to be considered but doesn't yet know if he will throw his hat in the ring.
"It's not something that I thought I'd ever be in a position to do," he said. "It's something that I'll definitely consider. We have to have a convention and a lot will need to happen before we select the next chairman."