Robert D. Shearer, Jr. is the 49th Ward Republican Committeeman. At least, that’s his title. He has done nothing to deserve it. Sadly, he will probably be re-elected.
I have been asked by a number of people to run against Mr. Shearer for the position of 49th Ward Republican Committeeman. This is the same office, in essence, that David Fagus holds, with an obvious difference: Fagus is the Democrat Committeeman. The elected office of committeeman is unusual because it is designed to be purely partisan. Each committeeman looks out for his or her own party in elections, chiefly by appointing election judges and poll watchers.
As voters in the 49th Ward of Chicago know all too well, Fagus is the dominant committeeman, being allowed more poll personnel than his Republican counterpart. This is based on past voting percentages by party line in a given ward.
Democrats need to understand that their best hope of shaking off the Moore-Fagus-Stroger yoke is a strong and viable Republican committeeman to stop and report the type of abuses that Joe Moore has pulled – we have photos, Joe – and will continue to do. But this is not about abortion, it’s not about any war, or any other big issues. It’s about keeping the polls clean. The committeeman does not vote on legislation. They are watch dogs. And the Fagus watch dog has been blind for years.
I will not run.
I considered it briefly, but realized that I will not be able to give the position – which I have been assured I would win – enough time to do it justice. And there’s the difference between somebody like myself and somebody like Robert Shearer: I am not willing to take a job that I may not be able to devote enough time to. Shearer, on the other hand, has held his position without being willing, apparently, to devote any significant time to it. He has been ineffectual.
The following is excerpted from a message from Michael Harrington, Candidate for Alderman in the 49th Ward in 2003:
Along with the Chicago Tribune, we've earned the endorsements of activists from the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Libertarian Party, and Green Party. They are working shoulder-to-shoulder to help me win, including Rogers Park Green Party leader Jason Farbman and 49th Ward Republican Committeeman Robert Shearer.
Full disclosure: I did a little footwork for Harrington in 2003. I like Michael as a neighbor, and I supported him as an Anybody-But-Joe Moore alternative. I supported, to my regret, non-Republican Ginderske for the same reason, and then Don Gordon. What’s truly pitiful, however, is that the Republican committeeman, Robert Shearer, also supported uber-Liberal Harrington.
Lest you think this hypocritical of me, let me explain. Shearer, as Republican committeeman, was remiss in his duties as an elected official who was elected to a partisan office in supporting Harrington. Sure, Shearer was against Moore. But, instead of supporting a Democrat, Shearer should have been working overtime in the preceding months and years to find and groom a viable Republican candidate for alderman. Instead, Shearer did nothing that I can find trace of to do this. It is not, and never has been, my obligation or elected duty to further the ends of any political party in this ward. On the other hand, Robert Shearer has been elected to a position, in which those duties and obligations were accepted by him.
The very fact that virtually nobody in the 49th Ward knows that there are two ward committeemen – a Democrat and a Republican – is evidence enough that Republican committeeman Robert Shearer has not done his job. If he had been doing his job, more people would know about him. Few do.
In the recent aldermanic run-off election in April, 2007, Shearer was allegedly unaware that his election judges left their posts so that they could do election day pamphleteering for Don Gordon. Gordon, like Harrington four years earlier, is no Republican (in spite of what the pro-Moore liars tell you). Again, as in 2003, Shearer did nothing to further his party’s position in the ward. Again, Shearer let years go by, only to give his lame support to a non-Republican.
A search for Robert Shearer on the web pulls up very little. He doesn’t even post a bio where he should.
Perhaps the most telling thing about Robert Shearer is what he told me recently on the phone. (Note to Mr. Shearer: At no time did you say that our conversation was off the record!)
The Republican committeeman candidate for the 49th Ward needs a mere 16 signatures to get on the February ballot. The filing deadline is November 5. A couple of weeks ago, after repeated attempts to speak with him, we connected. By that time I’d decided I would not run against him, and I opened the conversation with that. I said to him that I’d consider supporting him if he could convince me that he would run a vigorous campaign (something he’s never done).
He immediately said to me something that made my jaw drop.
“Well, if you’d like to help, could I get you help me gather petition signatures?”
After a stunned moment, I replied, “Bob, you only need sixteen signatures!”
“Yes, you wanna help?”
No, Mr. Shearer, I don’t want to help you. You deserve defeat and obscurity.