Friedman Declares Candidacy to Replace Garrett
Mark Neerhof tells group he will oppose Karen May.
With a call to repeal the Illinois income tax increase passed in January, Highland Park pediatrician Arie Friedman officially declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination to succeed retiring state Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) Monday night.
Earlier: Garrett will not seek reelection
“We have to create a business friendly environment, repeal the tax increase hand in hand with cutting spending,” Friedman told a crowd of more than 60 people at a restaurant in Highland Park’s Ravinia neighborhood.
Friedman, 45, is the only announced Republican candidate. He's a Highland Park native who served as a helicopter pilot in the United States Navy before becoming a pediatrician. He is married with five children.
He ran for the Republican nomination for the 10th Congressional District seat in 2010 and lost in the primary to now Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth).
West Deerfield Township Supervisor Julie Morrison of Deerfield is currently the sole Democratic contender. Township High School District 113 Board Member Annette Lidawer told Patch Monday she would not run.
The primary will be March 20 with the general election in November, 2012.
Morrison has not taken a position on the tax increase or its repeal. “I want to study it more,” she said. “I want to see what effect it will have and what effect repeal would have.”
Garrett voted against the tax hike and state Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park) supported it.
Friedman told Patch over the weekend he intended to run and would make a formal announcement by the end of the month. Monday’s event was supposed to be a fundraiser for the Doctors and Patients Alliance of Illinois, a Political Action Committee Friedman formed last month.
“I was going to wait but it feels right with everyone here,” Friedman said of his decision to make his announcement Monday.
Nerrhof will run against May
Minutes before Friedman told the crowd he was running, Dr. Mark Neerhof, 52, of Lake Forest, stunned the gathering by telling them he was seeking the Republican nomination to oppose May. This will be Neerhof’s first run for public office.
“Obamacare will take us down financially and it will take down the medical system,” Neerhof said. His desire to reform Medicaid is a central part of his platform. “Medicaid is the leading budget item in Illinois."
May reiterated her intention to run for reelection to Patch Monday. She was not surprised by Neerhof’s announcement.
“This is part of the political process,” she said. “We’ll run the same competitive campaign we always do.”
Friedman criticized the current Democratic controlled government in Springfield for what he called Illinois’s failings as a state.
“They (the Democrats) want bigger government, higher taxes and less economic freedom,” Friedman said. “States that have failed have pursued that policy. Those who have succeeded have taken another route.”
Excitement from supporters
The room was filled with other candidates and political activists who were thrilled with Friedman’s decision. Lake County State’s Attorney candidate Bryan Winter of Lake Barrington was there to support Friedman and meet Highland Park residents.
“I know of Arie (Friedman). He’s really gained stature and leadership,” Winter said. “This is part of Lake County and I want to meet the constituents in Highland Park.”
Moraine Township Republican Chairman Lou Atsaves of Lake Forest was thrilled not only with Friedman’s announcement but the fact he has been a local party activist.
“I’m excited because Arie Friedman is one of our precinct committeemen,” he said.
Ellsworth Mills of Highland Park has been a Republican precinct committeeman since 1951. He was impressed with Friedman when he ran for Congress and expects good things from him now.
“He presented a very good perspective before and he probably has the same outlook,” Mills said. “He brings a lot of good credentials.”