Nominal Frontrunner Catalina Lauf in IL-11 Began Her Descent from a Promising Candidate Months Ago Starting with Lies

By John Lopez

Mark Carroll

The Republican primary race in the Illinois 11th Congressional District enters the beginning of early voting and vote-by-mail ballots hitting the street with a flurry of activity which will crescendo to its finish on June 28.

As previously written, the six Republican candidates vying to challenge Congressman Bill Foster (D, Naperville) this fall are, in ballot order:

  • Jerry Evans of Warrenville
  • Andrea Heeg of unincorporated Geneva
  • Catalina Lauf of Woodstock
  • Susan Hathaway-Altman of unincorporated Geneva
  • Cassandra Tanner Miller of Elgin
  • Mark Carroll of North Aurora, who was endorsed by Illinois Family Action

As shared at the end of April, while there are six candidates on the ballot, at this point, only three candidates have a legitimate chance to win and in this ranking of 1) Lauf, 2) Evans and 3) Carroll

This article is going to focus on the frontrunner Lauf since she’s the frontrunner. Lauf, like me, is of Hispanic origin and while Lauf and I share the same ethnicity yet different heritages (she’s Guatemalan through her mother, I’m Mexican through both my parents, and French through my father), this column will document parts of the Lauf record which have frankly disappointed me over the past several months.

Before beginning, I must share all of my views are guided by Scripture and prayers, and there is nothing personal.  By the grace of God, I’m known, both in my writings and in real life, as an advocate for the truth.

While the Scriptures speak for themselves, one of my wife’s and my favorite evangelists is Dr. Tony Evans, and his 2016 book Kingdom Citizen easily applies Scripture to what all Christ followers must apply in life, including in politics.  If anyone has not read Kingdom Citizen, which was published around Labor Day in 2016, I encourage all to read it.  It’s a quick read, and brings the Scriptures into practical applications in 2022 America.

The 2020 Republican Primary for IL-14

When the 26-year-old Lauf burst onto the political scene in August of 2019 announcing her candidacy through a feature write-up in the New York Post to seek the nomination to challenge then-freshman Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D, Naperville), it was terrific for me to see a new face, who happens to be a little like me with same ethnicity and talking like a conservative.

Lauf had worked 8 months in the U.S. Commerce Department during President Trump’s administration and being from McHenry County, within a few weeks, Lauf saw her social media following soar into the tens of thousands.

Lauf was part of the 7-candidate Republican primary field and due to fundraising issues in the last quarter of 2019, Lauf could not purchase TV commercial advertising for her campaign, and had to rely on mailers and campaign volunteers to get her message out, and Lauf finished in 3rd place behind state Senators Jim Oberweis (R, Sugar Grove) and Sue Rezin (R, Morris).  Lauf gained 20% of the Republican primary vote, compared with Oberweis’ plurality of just under 26%.

Four Months to Endorse Oberweis, Republican National Convention and Defense of Freedom PAC

After Lauf lost the primary and all of the other candidates who lost quickly and publicly endorsed winner Oberweis within 24 hours after primary night, Lauf remained silent and did not endorse Oberweis until July 22, 2020.  No explanation given for the delay, but it did happen.

The seeds of doubt about Lauf were sown.

Then a little over a month later, August 24, 2020, the first night of the Republican National Convention, Lauf, along with her older sister Madeline, were featured on a 5-minute pre-recorded segment discussing the opportunities for entrepreneurship through President Trump’s sucessful pre-pandemic economic policies.  While older sister Madeline, 30 at the time, is a proven entrepreneur with a proven record of start-ups in her name, Catalina is not, and I thought at that time, if Catalina ever runs for Congress again, instead of talking about what her parents had done, or her sister, Catalina needs to talk about what SHE has done.

More seeds of doubt planted.

During the convention week, and after co-hosting a podcast for the Illinois Republican Party, Lauf announced she was starting a Federal PAC in order to raise money to help other candidates win election.  Her Defense of Freedom PAC, seeded with $5,000 from her congressional campaign, quickly raised over $100K in time to help 14 Republican Federal candidates with contributions between $500 and $1,000.  Five of the Republican nominees won:

  • Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R, TX-02)
  • Congressman Mike Garcia (R, CA-25) who won reelection by 300 votes
  • Burgess Owens (R, UT-04) flipping a seat
  • Madison Cawthorn (R, NC-11)
  • Lauren Boebert (R, CO-03)

While the PAC’s work was impressive, as well as trying to help Republican Federal candidates win across the country, Lauf’s PAC did NOT give to any of the Illinois Republican candidates running for Congress, including:

  • Congressman Rodney Davis (R, IL-13), in a rematch race against Democrat who came close to winning in 2018
  • Esther Joy King (R, IL-17) who came very close to flipping the IL-17 against then-Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee leader Congresswoman Cheri Bustos
  • Jim Oberweis (R, IL-14), the Republican nominee Lauf lost to in March of 2020

More seeds of doubt sown, not helping Illinois-based candidates in tight races.

Georgia U.S. Senate Runoff Campaign

Kim Klacik, Anna Paulina Luna & Catalina Lauf 1/4/21 before Trump rally

After the November 3 election in 2020, control of the U.S. Senate came down to the two runoff elections in Georgia, as the two Republican incumbents did not achieve 50%+1 of the vote, and had to face the Democrats on January 5, 2021.

For over a week in early to mid December of 2020, Lauf joined the Club for Growth Action super PAC’s Save America tour campaigning across the Peach State.  At most of the stops, Lauf was given a few minutes to speak to fire-up the crowd, and at a stop in Warner-Robins, Lauf emceed the rally.

Lauf worked alongside many Republican luminaries, including U.S. Senators-elect and Congressmen (and women)-elect.  On the night before the runoff election, President Trump held an election-eve rally, where Lauf and many thousands attended.

Sadly, the Democrats won both U.S. Senate seats, and with the election of Kamala Harris as vice president, the U.S. Senate was controlled by Democrats in a 50-50+1 majority.

Primary Challenge to Congressman Adam Kinzinger and Dishonesty of Her Online Resume’

With the events of January 6, 2021, leading to the U.S. House impeachment of President Trump on January 13, Trump supporters looked for a viable challenger to Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R, IL-16) who was one of the ten Republicans voting with House Democrats to impeach the President.

With the help of activists, Lauf was convinced to run for Congress, and announced her primary challenge for the 2022 election cycle on February 23, 2021, complete with release of a high-priced video.  Other candidates jumped into the primary challenge, but Lauf was the high-profile candidate.

Catalina Lauf LinkedIn Resume’

Within a week of Lauf’s late February 2021 campaign announcement, Patrick Pfingsten, who writes for The Illinoize online newsletter, published an article where Lauf’s online resume’ through the social media LinkedIn site, did not include her work in 2018 for then-Governor Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign.

As shown on the screenshot, the job circled says “Director, Political Organization” with no start date and a month/year end date.

The truth, Lauf was a field director for Citizens for Rauner and she started working for the Rauner reelection campaign in January of 2018, so Lauf worked directly against then-state Representative Jeanne Ives (R, Wheaton).

After Rauner won the primary, Lauf stayed with Citizens for Rauner through the bitter end of the 2018 campaign, with her last payment, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections being made to Lauf in mid November of 2018.

The Pfingsten article also shares how Lauf’s peers in the campaign thought of her work.

At a February 28, 2022 appearance before the We the People of McHenry County grassroots group in Cary, IL, Lauf was asked about her work for Citizens for Rauner, and she ended her explanation saying she’s not ashamed of working for the Rauner campaign.

As a follow-up to the same question, I asked Lauf about the LinkedIn resume’ omission, and she never responded and tried to make it look strange someone would view her online resume’, in spite my reminding Lauf The Illinoize had asked her the same question, and over a year later, she had not responded to Pfingsten’s questions.

In spite of Lauf’s lie by omission, Republican primary voters should not be surprised Jeanne Ives is backing one of Lauf’s opponents in IL-11, and on April 6, Ives endorsed Jerry Evans for Congress.

“We need more people with a background like Jerry Evans in Congress.

“As a small business owner Jerry will watch out for taxpayers.  As a parent, Jerry will make sure that parents get a say in all aspects of their children’s education.

“And as a conservative, I trust Jerry to protect our borders and secure our energy independence once again.”

Conclusion — Republican primary voters apply prayer Lauf mends her ways

My doubts about Lauf grew over time, and in upcoming articles, additional discernment will be applied to important details like Lauf’s Financial Disclosure statement she filed last year, and the constant concerns about Lauf with life experiences.

The seeds of doubt were sown over the past two years, and lies, be they by omission, embellishment, half-truths, minimizing or any other way to not tell the truth are all over Lauf.

I still hold out hope, as I stated openly in a YouTube exchange with her mother last week:

It’s not too late for Catalina to mend her ways, but the window is closing, and she is on a path to destruction unless she really mends her ways.

“As someone who advocates for the truth, know I tell it now.”

Too bad.  As I said above, Lauf, being a young Hispanic with a bright future who talked a conservative message, was someone I thought was ready to elevate being a champion for conservatives and be a real fighter as she claims, to the point she would champion the conservative causes with what Hispanics refer to as duende.

Potential is all she is, and Lauf will not live up to her potential in elective public office, let alone life, if she continues to not tell the truth.

John Lopez has written about policy and elections through the McHenry County Blog since 2019. He is now semi-retired, and does freelance work with analytics, as well as political candidates, emphasizing policy as the means to advance the conservative message, by engaging through policy “dog fighting”, applying discernment for winning and advancing God’s Kingdom agenda.

John’s known for getting past the talking points, the narratives, the abstracts, the platitudes and the bromides in order to discuss policy and apply Scripture to overcome unholy divisions in the local community, our state, and nation.

John has been married for over 16 years.

Follow John on Twitter: @MarcVAvelar