News from the Illinois Political Front Lines: Part 1 – Last Week’s GOP County Conventions

Written by John Biver

GOP County…what? Conventions? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know about them. The tired old guard Illinois Republican Party establishment didn’t want you hear about the conventions. The attendance of rank-and-file platform-supporting Republicans in this state would not have been good for them and they knew it. In fact, in Cook county the convention was run as a closed-door session where the party rules were not followed — you can read about one example here.

As noted here a few weeks ago, those county party conventions are held every two years to elect county-level party leadership teams. Every four years there is also an election to elect members of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee (SCC), which is the Republican Party’s governing board.

In brief, platform-supporting Republicans won several victories. There is now a solid conservative contingent on the committee that believes the GOP should not try to out-do the Democratic Party when it comes to Leftist social policies or government spending. (Remember, the budget that passed last year by Democratic majorities in the General Assembly was smaller than the budget “Republican” Bruce Rauner introduced months earlier.)

With those SCC elections, Bruce Rauner discovered once again that he can’t buy everyone and everything. Conservatives cheered the news of victory in several districts, including Bob Grogan in the 6th, Fred Floreth in the 13th, Stan Bond in the 14th, and John McGlasson in the 16th.

As this article goes to press, the race in the 15th Congressional District is still being contested. One website reports that some shenanigans took place on behalf of the establishment-backed candidate in that contest. While one side is declaring victory, the other side is retaining legal counsel. You can read more about it here and here.

GOP activist Jan Klaas called the victory in the 16th a “huge success,” and credited the hard work that has been done by conservatives since last fall. The supporters of the winning candidate rejected the recommendation of the area’s state legislators.

On the importance of electing leaders that support the entire Illinois GOP platform (both economic and social issues), Klaas said, “You can’t be fiscally conservative without being morally responsible.”

One of the local leaders I spoke with explained that the SCC vote that takes place every four years is the most important duty they have.

Why? Because the state-wide leadership too often recruits the kind of candidates who not only do not support our state party platform, but typically lack leadership abilities and prove it when they get elected and show no capacity to even comprehend the power of their bully pulpit let alone become informed and vote in line with the party’s platform on legislation when they’re in Springfield.

Is there a conservative majority on the SCC? It’s very close now, but regardless, a government conservative majority can be accomplished in four years.

  • Many will remember the gallant fight at the 2016 Illinois Republican Party Convention to defeat efforts to weaken the party platform’s marriage and family plank.
  • Also, in 2016 Republicans picked up 6 state legislative seats in a presidential year where the vote typically favors Democrats in Illinois.
  • After Bruce Rauner signed HB 40 legalizing taxpayer-funded abortion, a dozen or so state legislators dropped their support for Rauner despite his millions of dollars.

On that last point, it needs to be noted that Rauner’s money is a problem, but it won’t be if he loses in November.

As an aside, there have been news reports that Mrs. Rauner has said if Bruce loses, then they are planning to move to Italy. A friend of mine quipped, “what did Italy do wrong to deserve the Rauners?”

Another huge positive was the March primary challenge of Rauner by State Rep. Jeanne Ives. In spite of being greatly out-spent and terribly lied about, Ives almost won. It was the first time in a long time that Illinois conservatives were able to get excited about a statewide candidate.

Up next: Conservative energy is rising in Illinois.

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