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Durkin says he will support primaried incumbents

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013

* If GOP Reps. Ed Sullivan and Ron Sandack end up in hot primaries next spring, their new House Republican Leader will have their back. The two men are the only publicly known Republican supporters of gay marriage. Illinois Issues

[House GOP Leader Jim Durkin] said he plans to back incumbents in primaries next year, regardless of how they vote on the [gay marriage] issue.

“I’m supporting every one of my colleagues who’s here, no matter how they vote on this issue, or any other issue. We are a caucus that is diverse, and we’re not going to agree on every issue. But my pledge to every one of them when I was elected two months ago was that I want each and every one of them to be returning with me when we get sworn in. … I will support every one of my incumbents who have a primary challenge, no matter what [side of an] issue they take or whatever vote may prompt a primary.”

That could get expensive, particularly considering all the money Durkin will have to spend next fall to take back some seats his caucus lost to the Democrats last year.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Amuzing Myself - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    Good start. He can’t let chaos reign. He’s not in the majority with the luxury of letting some rightwing Joe Walsh type win. In a marginal suburban district, primary alet the far right try, and see what happens. In the end it will cost a lot less to defend his current guys in the general than a crackpot, single-issue candidate.

  2. - from the cheap seats - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:26 am:

    Your move, Dan Proft.

  3. - mm - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    Good move. If the GOP wants to remain relevant in Illinois they need to stop the party purity nonsense and stop pushing out people who aren’t social conservatives.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:37 am:

    Leader Durkin,


    This is indeed good news to hear from a Leader who completely understands the goal and the job of a Caucus Leader.

    When this Caucus got Veto-Proofed, the feel outside was that factions would suck the oxygen out of any talk of diversity, and out of building from the ground up, and also to suck the most important element a diverse Caucus needs to remain,… togetherness… for the common goal of being a majority.

    The Senate Republicans are a failure on all levels in regards to what you are doing, because the idea that Slytherin Republicans control the narrative, and then to speak of inclusion can’t be done and seem realistic.

    The only way to build, is to secure the foundations of the existing Caucus, “diverse” as it may be, and build on the diversity and make it grow, showing that being 100% of something, be it what Leader Durkin demands, or what Slytherin Republicans requires, is not going to cut it to be in that House Caucus.

    One last thing, and it is the most important.

    You, Leader Durkin, must flex your muscle, as the unanimously elected House Republican Leader, and make it beyond clear that any …ANY … sitting Caucus Member … that decides to … um, “assist” … in the Primaring of any colleague … that “Mushroom” should not see the light of any perks in the Caucus.

    You have thrown down the gauntlet, and a very expensive gauntlet, and you should be praised for that. However if there are no real ramifications for these Slytherin Republicans demanding “purity” in districts where there colleagues already sit, then you are going to seen by those Slytherins as someone giving lip service… and defending your Members, but those slytherins will feel comfort and might think…

    “…in reality, what can Jimmy do to me? Jim ain’t gonna do nothin’…”

    Any of those members step out of line and cause the Caucus you are leading cash to defend a colleague, …. then there needs to be retribution, you know, for the sake of “Purity” … purity of purpose …and purity to live the Reagan Rule of 80%

    I am with you, Leader Durkin, keep going, and keep your caucus …. your UNITED caucus, on the path to relevence, the path to diversity …a path to a long fought victory … a path, someday sooner, to a Majority.

  5. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:43 am:

    Perhaps Leader Durkin could find m(and follow) the notes that Mike Madigan made to himself when he was the Minority Leader in the mid-1990s

  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    There’s a national, not-so Civil War in the Grand Old Party between Slytherrin House (here’s to you, Willie) and the Gryffindor’s who actually want to govern.

    Good on you, Rep. Durkin.

  7. - John Galt - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    1) Makes sense from a legislative standpoint. Boosts caucus morale I suppose.

    2) I do wonder how universal that really is. Lets say Proft supported incumbent state reps like Ives and Morrison start to back primary challengers to fellow incumbents (like the challengers to Pihos and Sandack). Does Durkin and the GOP leadership look the other way and still support Morrison amd Ives happen to draw primary challenges in the future despite them fomenting primary challenges against their own caucus members? How much will Durkin et al be willing to look the other way? How does Madigan handle these situations on the Dem side?

    3) To mm: good in theory, but what you’re not considering is that the conservative activist wing of the GOP are not concerned about GOP relevance per se. In their mind, if the party is not sufficiently conservative, then “relevance” is a meaningless condition. Being the active sidekick as the state is looted or being a passive ineffective speed bump to calamity has zero appeal to them. They’d rather toil in the wilderness for a few more years and then come back with a real conservative push with oomph. The problem is, first, they are assuming they WOULD come back rather than go extinct entirely. And Secondly, they view the speed bump role as meaningless, which it may not be. There are lots of GOPers who would prefer a more incremental movement rightward just like the conservatives, but recognize that in lieu of that, at least slowing the incremental move leftward has its own merits.

  8. - GOPgal - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    Quid meet Quo.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    - Anonymous -

    The playbook to start is there;

    1996, South Suburbs.

    Recruitment, why those candidates were recruited, the polling at the time, the message those challengers had, the “Program” as it is called in place …

    Leader Durkin needs to target, use the playbook from 1996, and make sure those recruited understand the “Program” and why they are being recruited, and run to “win the district”, not “win the day”.

    Diversity of candidate, for the diversity of the District is the begining element that can make or break these races. MJM knew it, recruited for it, ran like it, and won because of it.

    Diversity of District demands the Diversity of Candidate.

  10. - Bill - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:50 am:

    What a refreshing change (for repubs). Durkin does not fool around. He’ll pick up some seats in addition to keeping those they have. They will be a lot more relevant as a minority then they have in the past

  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    (tips cap, nods with respect to - wordslinger -)

    I know I am on the right track when - wordslinger - , and all of liked mind take these stands to defend what is right, not what is “Right”.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 12:02 pm:

    - John Galt -,

    For me, I am quite clear.

    Any … “Any” means any.

    Defend YOUR Caucus. They supported Jim Durkin. You need “Bernie Petersens” and you need “Mark Beaubiens” if you want to get to 60.

    You win, we back you, and we bulid, from 47 to 50, 50, to 55, 55 to…. 60.


  13. - RMW Stanford - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 12:16 pm:

    John Galt,

    If anything I would argue that the purist social conservatives are defacto active side kicks in the state’s problems by preventing more electable Republicans from getting into office that may be able to move the state in better fiscal and economics direction. They are willing to let the state burn in desperate bid to enforce their social beliefs.

  14. - A guy... - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    “no matter how they vote on any issue” is a pretty wide margin. Might see those words again sometime.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    - A guy… -,

    There is only ONE vote that is required to go ONE way;

    “All those voting for Jim Durkin for Speaker of the House …”

    One. Vote.

    the rest is the “herding of cats” of a diverse caucus trying to find its 80% agreement to move an agenda forward.

    A Caucus is only as strong as its unity.

    Otherwise, you aren’t a Caucus to begin with.

  16. - Joan P. - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 12:50 pm:

    Makes sense to me. After all, he is the “House Republican Leader”, not the “House Some of the Republicans Leader”.

  17. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 4:33 pm:

    a little different than Bill Black was treated not all that long ago, huh? Good work, Jim. Big tent!

  18. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Oct 22, 13 @ 4:37 pm:

    This is a smart move, you can’t let your caucus be overtaken by the right wing, see US Republican Conference. He probably doesn’t want the same problem, it would have much larger long term consequences.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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