After dedicating four months to a campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor of Illinois in 2010, I have concluded it is unrealistic to continue this effort.
I am exceedingly grateful for the encouragement and support from many individuals throughout Illinois. I am appreciative of everyone who demonstrated interest, welcomed me into communities and helped me along the way.
If you read Whitley’s entire statement, the bottom line is he just wasn’t up to the task. Running for statewide office ain’t easy, and he found that out the hard way.
According to ISBE filings, Cicero spokesman and Republican pundit Dan Proft formed a “Proft for Governor” committee on April 9, 2009 with “Zero” funds, thus adding credibility to the rumor that Proft is seriously contemplating a bid.
You can check out Proft’s statement of organization by clicking here. Since he’s formed a campaign committee, I kinda wonder what WLS Radio is gonna do about his regular commentator gig.
* Team America’s 10th District Blog speculates on the Illinois impact of US Sen. Arlen Specter’s party switch…
But, with Specter’s defection, if anything, the national GOP will renew its attempts to open up the big tent and embrace moderates to refute the notion that Specter’s defection had anything to do with policy schisms within the party. Not to mention the fact that the GOP needs to win back some Senate seats in 2010, and Kirk is widely regarded as one of the GOP’s strongest candidates anywhere.
Supporting a moderate like Mark Kirk for an important U.S. Senate race might just come at exactly the right time for the GOP.
But Mark Biver, a hard-right Illinois activist, puts it bluntly…
The problem is, unfortunately, the Republican Party nationally and especially here in Illinois has been allowing candidates to run that tepidly (to say the least) support only a few of the platform planks.
Illinois’ Republican national committeeman said that state Sen. Chris Lauzen of Aurora should “take a deep look” to see if he wants to say in the GOP and shouldn’t make another bid for Congress in the far west suburbs. […]
Lauzen, who is receiving Democratic help in moving the [state party] governing change through the legislature, has attacked leading GOP opponents as “domineering parasites” and “self-serving, officious, lying, arrogant thugs.”
Lauzen is “someone I think that needs to take a deep look and see if he still wants to be in the Republican Party,” said Brady, who is from St. Charles and lives in the 14th Congressional District.
There is no Democratic Party of Illinois,” strategist Kitty Kurth said by phone Tuesday. “When I talk to my friends at the Democratic National Committee, they say our state chair won’t return their calls.”
The Illinois Republican Party has been behind the eight ball in recent years. It has suffered from its own largely self-inflicted wounds. Then again, travel over to its Web site and there’s a discernable difference these days.
They’re using a word you might remember from another campaign.
Rich, you really need to re-think your sources at Illinois Review. In this little blurb about Proft, Brady, etc. she writes that Brady’s campaign is more-or-less non-existent. Yet, just a couple of weeks ago, she ran a poll on her blog that Brady won easily, even though her choice was listed first and had an ad directly across from the poll. IMO, what little credibility they might have had is now gone.
The truth is, Brady doesn’t inspire and isn’t drawing significant suport. Andrzejewski (adamforillinois.com) is, however, energizing the base more than any candidate has for years and is drawing up dozens of volunteers a day.
A sleepy website and a quote from Kitty Kurth are a pretty weak foundation for Marin’s column.
No Democratic Party in Illinois? How bizarre. President. Chief of Staff. Cabinet positions. White House staff. Both Senators. Governor. All Constitutional officers. General Assembly. Now bedrock blue in presidential elections. Not bad for a ghost.
Believe me, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I wish there was a competitive GOP in Illinois. Some free advice — the one with the most votes wins.
I guess Kitty isn’t getting any business from the Dems. By the way, when Howard Dean was running the DNC, there were plenty of state chairmen who weren’t returning their calls — they were irrelevant. The also were looking for money because Obama had hoovered it all up on the national level.
No problem, Rich…just trying to point out something I learned trying to follow IR and take an objective look at it for a few weeks.
While those two things (Whitley and Proft) are real, I’ve seen so much strangeness over there I can’t take it seriously anymore. You probably didn’t know about the poll because she didn’t want anyone to know about it. The minute she took it down, there was never another peep about it on the site. I find that odd. Why run a poll at all if you’re not going to discuss it?!
I just find it interesting that the “right”, as represented by IR, seems to have such a problem with Brady after so many people in ‘06 were afraid of him for being too conservative. I’m convinced they’re just plain nuts - and I’m conservative myself looking for the right candidate to back this time. I was hoping to get a little useful info over there, but now can’t consider it of much use.
I think the circular firing squad may start to be a misnomer, and the tiny number of active participants at IR, in fact, through their own hypocrisy, drive themselves into IRrelevancy. Yet to be proven, but I’m beginning to see it as a possibility.
Wordslinger, you kind of missed the point. A an actual state party can be very useful at getting candidates in tough contests elected. Clearly Illinois has shifted to the D’s but that’s at least as much about Republican implosion than about anything the Dems have done.
And it’s simply a fact that there is no formal Democratic party operation in IL. Carol nailed this one. DPI is simply another fundraising tool used by the speaker for his House Dems. That’s not a criticism. It’s just a fact.
And before you completely dismiss Howard Dean, he’s a key underlying reason why Dems were competitive and did so well in 2006 and laid the ground work for 2008. Before Dean (who I’ll happily agree is a bit of a nutjob), national Dems decided they only had to worry about 14 competitive states. As such their playing field was shrinking and the R’s was growing. Dean put a stop to that and said we need to compete everywhere including places like Alaska, Wyoming and Nebraska. And guess what? We won a lot of those contests (including an electoral vote around Omaha for the first time) and forced the R’s to spend money in places they never had to before, thus spreading their resources thinly.
In short, there is value to candidates in having a real party. Unfortunately, we don’t.
Kirk is a phony moderate, so maybe the GOP leadership will embrace him. Kirk will uphold every filibuster giving some legalistic BS about how he supports the general goals of the Dem agenda but some minor quibble means that he has to filibuster the whole bill.
I didn’t hear most Republicans and Republican-aligned commentators express desire to expand the ideological tent of the GOP in response to Specter switching parties. I heard the opposite. Having less ideological diversity will make it easier for the GOP to communicate its message to voters.
Is the state Dem party merely heavily decentralized. Sure they could be more open to allow for at least e-mail newsletters and the state chair could return phone calls from the DNC, but the slack ought to be picked up by local organizations. As for the state party well they should step in when it counts.
“But, with Specter’s defection, if anything, the national GOP will renew its attempts to open up the big tent and embrace moderates to refute the notion that Specter’s defection had anything to do with policy schisms within the party.”
That may be the biggest piece of fantasy written on this blog today. And this on a day when we have confirmation that Dan Proft thinks he’s electable.
Sure, the party establishment will probably back Kirk. They’d be fools not to. But not because of some come to Jesus moment brought on by Specter’s departure. Rather, because Illinois on the whole is a more moderate state, and Kirk represents the best chance for them to win.
It’s political expediency, which is, ironically, exactly the reason most of them cite for Specter’s departure.
i can’t say that I agree with Kitty’s assessment, but I know what she means. If you’re looking for the State Party Chair to act like one, forget it. The closest we have to someone who behaves in that way is Dick Durbin. everything else is just posing and positioning for what the so called chair wants. just because there are lots of Dems elected to certain positions does not mean there is a functioning party. If there were a functioning party they could win lots more suburban local elections. And they would mean to do that.
Kitty’s right. Howard Dean’s national “50-state strategy” was really a 49 state strategy. Guess which state chair decided not to participate.
ILGOP actually has a stronger “presence” in the state compared to DPI, it’s just that the voters aren’t buying what they’re selling (and there are clearly several national factors at play there as Republicans nationally move further and further to the right of mainstream).
Kirk is the most electable as Gov? Really? He’s at least as left if not more on Guns than Madigan, he’s even farther left than Madigan on abortion. Why would pro-lifers, libertarians, and the ISRA crowd support him in the general. A Kirk campaign will simply cause a party fracture. An electable candidate is one who can unite the factions of the party, not one that simply represents one faction of the party and demands the rest fall in line.
The only difference between a Gov. Kirk and a Gov. Madigan is who gets the patronage jobs….
I was stunned at the Tom Roeser column. He did say Kirk would split the party IF the GOP ran him as Gov BUT he also said that he could support him as Senator. Tom Roeser is no moderate he is a voice for the conservatives and he seems to endorse Ron Gidwitz a libertarian (Moderate) for Governor in the same column. If that is true, maybe this long time fight is over between the moderates and conservatives. I have not heard that Gidwitz has announced yet, but it is a interesting scenario. I agree that Kirk can be acceptable to the base for US Senate but as Governor he would be the Head of the party, as Senator he is one of 100 and he would take the Obama seat. Gidwitz is a candidate with gravitas, he is not just a billionaire in an empty suite. He is kind of aloof on TV but politics is a trade and that is overcome with practice. If he can bring the base and the moderates together he would be formidable. The announced candidates have NO chance to be governor. Adam Andzejewski might be a good guy and conservative but dozens of volunteers a day will get him nowhere, where will he get the 20 to 30 million needed to win? As a conservative I am tired of getting behind candidates who can’t win.
JonShibleyFan- I don’t think I suggested that the social conservatives in the national GOP were all of a sudden going to have an epiphany that they have been shifting the party too far to the right and now it’s time for a course correction. I simply implied that given Specter’s departure, it would be opportune for the national GOP to strongly back a moderate like Kirk to counter criticism that they are purposely driving moderates out of the party. So, I think we’re essentially in agreement.
But, I do think that the future of the GOP depends on its ability to build coalitions by truly embracing moderates like Kirk, and not torpedo them under the guise of party purity (whatever that is). We’ll have to wait and see as to how that turns out.
The so is not about today but about building the party for tomorrow. Cultivating the next generation. Bringing people into the process. Building an infrastructure so we can do well even when the political winds are not going our way. And trust me, I remember 1994, it is guaranteed to happen!
As to Obama, you’re right. But he built that upon a foundation and local leadership cultivated by Dean. While Rahm tried to take credit for 2006 (as well as for everything else), Obama and many others gave Dean an awful lot of credit. It’s too bad he shunted him aside, but not wanting to work with a guy doesn’t mean you don’t respect what he accomplished.
John, I agree that Rep. Kirk is too liberal. His latest rating from Gun Owners of America is 0%, and his latest rating from Planned Parenthood is 100%. In May 2007, when 11 republican congressmen went to the White House and told President Bush that they opposed the Iraq surge, Kirk was the group’s leader. He should run as a Democrat.
IL Republicans need to nominate conservatives, for all statewide offices. In 2008, Dr. Sauerberg was moderate. He won his primary, and, in the general election, he got 33%. In 2006, then-Treasurer Topinka was moderate. She won her primary, and, in the general election, she got 38%. Since 1985, Illinois has had one republican U.S. senator, Peter Fitzgerald, a conservative.
The GOP on all levels has apparently forgotten Reagan’s 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans.”
Perhaps those who have hijacked and perverted the word “Conservative” should heed Barry Goldwater’s admonition at the Cow Palace in 1964: “Grow up.”
But I suspect that to Rush and the know-nothing cable yakkers who are the Big Heat in the GOP these days, Reagan and Goldwater’s records in office would probably disqualify them. John McCain wasn’t pure enough in his runup to nomination, if I recall.
Hopefully, the right wing of the Republican Party will be successful in cleansing all impurity out of their glorious institution. Who needs voters anyway? They are kinda annoying.
The Grand Old Party reminds me of some scenes from Dr. Strangelove………with all their talk about purity.
- Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 11:49 am:
Since 1985, Illinois has had one republican U.S. senator, Peter Fitzgerald, a conservative.
All you need for a conservative R to win a US Senate seat is to have an incumbent D like Carol Mosely Braun defending it. Which is not out of the realm of possibility in 2010 with Burris, but he would need to campaign and win the primary for your far-fetched fantasy to have a chance.
The IL GOP is heading for another huge disaster across the board in 2010. It’s so easy to see. It’s yet another golden opportunity squandered.
The Republican State Party may have a snazzier website than the Illinois Dems. So what? Madigan’s obviously been focused on the work that wins elections.
Call it a “firing squad” if you must, but the fact is the old leaders of the IL GOP are obsessed with nothing beyond clingling to what little power they have left. All their focus now is on things like hiring a D.C. law firm and threatening to sue if SB600 passes and Republicans get a voice back in their own state party.
That’s a party that’s not concerned in the least about winning. It’s just all about perpetuation of a selfish few who are clearly incompetent. The Illinois GOP is basically AIG on steroids, except they have no one to bail them out.
Sauerburg was the only viable candidate in the Senate Primary.The party got behind him because the kooky Andy Martin by way of name recognition had a very good chance of winning. the ILGOP would have been more of a laughing stock than it is now if that would have happened. As a conservative, I know some tried to come together and find a viable candidate for that Senate run but we could not find an acceptable conservative so we got NOTHING. It’s time to come together. It might be we have to get behind someone who can win and agrees with us 90% of the time instead of 100%. As long as the candidate UNDERSTANDS who GOP voters are and listens to their concerns. If we can agree on that the GOP is back. This would be the perfect year for us to come together and win the Presidents state Governors race and his Senate seat, that would send a huge message. And from what I have seen today it could very well happen
CV - I agree in some ways with what you are saying. However it is important to remember that Fitzgerald won as a result of the outrage people felt over the shenanigans of the then sitting senator, Carol Braun. Unfortunately, people in this state seem to vote for one party member or the other because of the shenanigans, rather than how moderate or conservative one is. Topinka lost because RodB linked her with George Ryan, not because she was too moderate.
Right now, it’s the dems shenanigans that are causing all the headlines. A GOP candidate can play that up during the election cycle. Will the GOP need moderates or crossover dems to win? Can the GOP go with a conservative and win in this blue state?
Wish we had Peter F back. His legacy lives on in the name of Patrick Fitzgerald - the reason for Ryan/Blago being in so much hot water. We voters couldn’t/wouldn’t do it.
Kity is absolutely right.
John Schmidt should be AG
Justice Freeman did not need state campaign dough
A groovey web site beats turning out votes any day
Howard Dean is a giant for finding Obama
The list goes on
Thank Goodness the ILGOPs are so helpful. Hat Tip to TugBoat Andy McKenna….he shold be Proud For Proft big time.
Do the conservatives realize that their “guns, gays, and abortion” focus forever condemns them to serious minority status in Illinois (and the nation)? How do you plan to get to 51% by bashing and alienating gays, Hispanics, blacks, immigrants, women, and young people (who are seriously turned off by the hard-right’s intolerance)?? Go back to being the party of Lincoln, TR, and Reagan; and talk about fiscal restraint, tolerance, the environment, infrastructure, empowerment, national defense, crime, etc., and you would have a winning formula.
- Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 12:27 pm:
“IL Republicans need to nominate conservatives, for all statewide offices.”
Didn’t Cal have a vote and gay marriage lost? The same for Iowa? America is split if you ask about abortion staying legal but when broken down to what they will support Parental notification they are with the GOP, partical birth almost 95% are with the GOP, government funding a majority are with the GOP. Homosexual marriage has never lost when the voters are asked it is the courts who push this on people. Illegal Immigration is not a losing issue for the GOP a majority of people even hispanics are against illegal immigration and if you look at African Americans the numberas are over 70% in support of enforcing the immigration laws. Young people DON’T VOTE so when they grow up and have a job they start to move to the right. The GOP’s problems have come because of infighting. Obama won this election because he spent $800 million dollars to McCains $80 million. 8 years ago the GOP was in charge of the whole national government and everyone said the Democratic party was dead.
After reading some of the above comments it’s no wonder the GOP in Illinois doesn’t have one elected statewide official…is the minority in the House & Senate..and continues to lose Congressional races and support in the suburbs.
These conservatives need to fully grasp that you have to find electable candidates that fit their states political climate. Now, when was the last conservative elected statewide?? Over a decade ago…and think of the last conservative elected before that??
These stupid little arguments on social issues don’t help out at all…and it just drives Independent & moderate voters away from our candidates. Personally, I just wanna win baby! AND that means having the (R) next your name I could care less what you think about on abortion..it’s up to the U.S. Supreme Court..not the Governor of Illinois.
I know this is extremely hard for right-wingers to understand because they are brainwashed..but let’s not get carried away over Mark Kirk, who makes a wonderful statewide candidate. If the GOP can avoid any primary debacles and let the Dems battle it out in primaries, we will have a very good shot at winning some of these offices back.
I agree with you that the long-term health of the GOP would benefit from a true “big tent” philosophy. I think the challenge is in creating a centrist movement (a phrase which is somewhat of an oxymoron).
In their rise to power in the 90s, the GOP created the formula which vexes them today.
The establishment understands the importance of moderates, but that’s because the establishment in both parties is more pragmatic than ideological. It’s why the NRSC may well try to clear the field if Kirk decides the Senate is the way to go.
But rather than build a broader base, which he seemed poised to do early on, Bush ultimately shrunk it (and there is a cautionary tale there for Obama). And a shrunken base naturally has a stronger concentration of ideologues. And that sets a high hurdle for moderates as a whole.
Although Mike Madigan certainly deserves credit for his leadership and many accomplishments, I concur that the Democratic Party of Illinois is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mike Madigan. Democrats are highly balkanized, feudal fiefdoms: Daley; Madigan; Senate President; and each elected constitutional officer. The DPI is a shell entity predicated upon this feudal system of political organization. At best, I would characterize the DPI as irrelevant except for electing Democratid state representatives and possibly Lisa Madigan as next Governor. Every other candidate is strictly on their own. For all practical purposes, Marin and Kurth are right.
I think it’s so funny that it’s always conservatives who are accused of being obsessed with “social issues.”
Isn’t Mark Kirk taking a stand on social issues when he was the only Republican to vote against the ban on partial birth abortion? (Even liberal Dems like Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy voted for the federal ban.)
Wasn’t Judy Baar Topinka being outspoken and making social issues a centerpiece when she would ride in the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago?
It’s the same old thing. The left wingers just always arrogantly consider their stand on any issue “the normal and natural position on things.” So any counter view gets the knee jerk response that it’s divisive or “focused on things we should’t care about.”
Most of the left is just as concerned about social issues as anyone on the right.
Scrape the rust off your brains folks and think about it.
There is NO ILGOP!!!!!! So we are already starting at the bottom. We will have a major overhaul when a new Governor is elected! I am not kum-by-ya I am looking at a conservative leader Tom Roeser, getting behind someone who some would call a moderate because of his stand on life. If in fact that is what happens and the life community can support Ron Gidwitz the party has a chance to win the Governors election. That is a fact. If you are a supporter of one of the announced candidates I can understand your anger but let’s face it there isn’t any groundswell of support for any of them.
GR where were you in the last election when conservatives were looking for a candidate for the Senate? Were you leading, following or in the way? I hope someone has a plan.
Well hopefulconservative, we can agree on that. There is no ILGOP, and that’s why there will be no statewide office pick-ups next year.
Because there is a Dem GOP, and it kicks butts. Carol Marin may think it’s not there because some website is stale, but last time I checked the election results, it was there.
Grassroots campaigns sound great, but the simple fact is in this day and age a Republican candidate can’t win without a functioning Republican Party. How many more times do we have to see this demonstrated?
And no offense, but Ron Gidwitz is one of the last people I can see leading a successful crusade out of the GOP ashes. I think he’s a decent man, I really do. But I don’t think he’s got the political potential. That doesn’t make him less of a man.
And no, I have no dog in this fight. I don’t even see anyone on the horizon. That’s the problem, I don’t see any of the retreads out there going anywhere. Quinn would beat all of them. And if Lisa Madigan gets the nomination for Gov, it’s over. She wins by Obama margins, maybe more.
We’re back to the original problem. A corrupted IL GOP has destroyed the bench. Everything has been about protecting the failures. Now another election is coming around and surprise, surprise, Republicans have nothing.
The IL GOP has clueless officials who saw Blago being arrested and just assumed that voters would now flock to vote R. That’s not how it works.
- Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 1:58 pm:
You are correct if Lisa runs against nobody she wins. With the way the economy and the state of the state are The GOP doesn’t need Ronald Reagan. How did a guy who’s name we couldn’t spell and who’s father in law was a ward boss become Governor? Money and it was the right time. Enough said.
It is interesting that Republican bloggers see only two levels in the ILGOP: the State Party and the “grassroots.” Never is anything said about the crucial organizations in the middle that have to get the job done on election day, the county parties and their committeemen. Never is anything said on how to develop that part of the organization. Instead, “grassroots” pine for the State Party, like a Man on Horseback, to come along and save the day, and bloggers obsess on the top levels of the State Party (no doubt drolling over the thought of running it someday).
Now look at the Democrats. Their State Party barely exists, and they don’t even discuss it. But they do pay a lot of attention to Committeemen and local organizations.
I like that first name - Vallas. A man with ethics and scruples. Not to mention good ideas. Birkett has some problems since he had continued the Nicarico debacle in DuPage Cty. I’d vote for JBT again in a sec. All listed have wheels and will get support from me.
I was hoping that Whitley would be the R’s nominee. His brain trust at Saputo’s talked him into the race. His reward of $100 from Ameritech for each employee he laid off, earning him a bonus of $1 milion, would have been a good issue in this economy.
His preaching as head of the Chamber showed how self righteous he has come to be.
Bubs shows his complete lack of understanding of politics again. The Dems do have a strong state party. It’s one that knows how to create the environment where other orgs and campaigns from top to bottom are productive. That’s what a real state party does. The Dems know that a state party isn’t about having a fluffy website than no one visits anyway. The core of their state party is a strong and respected state chairman, Mike Madigan. Have to have that for starters. They win. Republicans lose. Exactly.
hopefulconservative, you’re working for Gidwitz right?
Mark Biver? Aren’t you confusing him with John Kirk?
The reason that the Ill GOP (pun intended) can not win is that they can not organize. All frosting and no cake. There are so many holes and so much dross at the precinct level that they can not grow the roots.
It is that level and during the periods between elections, that the precinct captain, ward boss make their bones, delivering information and delivering services, identifying likely voters and their issues, making them seem as if they count for something.
The Party id top heavy with people who are not leaders in any sense. Tugboat Andy McKenna couldn’t get steam up, let alone organize a string of barges. His greatest accomplishment was to settle on rich candidates who could self fund , so he would not have to raise money. Beneath him are Central Committemen who are happy with the status quo, thank you very much.
From the likes of Skipper Saviano, they are sheet anchors, pretend Republicans depending on the kindness of the likes of Jimmy diLeo.
The single issue types refuse to seek electoral victory. Is it any wonder that they refuse to accept any candidate who can win? and cede to the Democrats in 2010 the majority.