Fricke’s Republican credentials questioned in Illinois House primary race
Prominent Republicans in Northwest Illinois say Steve Fricke, one of two GOP candidates for the 89th state House seat, has all the right credentials -- if he were running in the Democratic primary.
“He just doesn’t represent who we are, what we are about,” said Dan Janes, vice chairman of the Ogle County Republican Central Committee and a farmer. “He’ll go to Springfield and go right over to the dark side.”
The 60-year-old Fricke is a retired teacher and Stephenson County board member. He’s running in the primary against 35-year-old conservative Republican Andrew Chesney, a Freeport alderman at large, chairman of the Stephenson County Republican Party and a division sales manager with Seaga Manufacturing.
They are vying for the seat left vacant by Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Freeport), who is running for the state Senate.
In November, Fricke voted against a motion to reconsider a levy ordinance -- it was approved anyway -- that paved the way for a reduction in taxes in Stephenson County.
On his campaign Facebook page, Fricke has posted photos of himself shaking hands with local prominent Democrats, including former Freeport mayor and two-time candidate for the U.S. House, George Gaulrapp, and with Samuel Newton, vice chairman of the Stephenson County Board.
And in October 2016, Fricke was chair of an Illinois Farm Bureau committee that endorsed the re-election of liberal U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline). Most recently, Bustos voted against the tax overhaul signed into law by President Donald Trump.
In the October 2016 edition of the Rock Island County Farm Bureau newsletter, Fricke was quoted as saying, “She (Bustos) has been a leader in the effort to re-establish a strong agricultural trade relationship with Cuba and led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Cuba last year.”
Finally, law enforcement in the district has supported Chesney even though Fricke is chairman of the Public Property and Safety Committee of Stephenson County.
“People need to ask themselves who are we really electing and what’s his real purpose in going there (Springfield),” Janes said.
The 89th includes parts of Carroll, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago Counties.