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Party chairman wants outside help to winnow field

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012

* This will be a very dangerous game

(T)he multitude of potential candidates remains a cause of concern for some Republican leaders. Two years ago, the field at one time was a seven-way primary for governor. The GOP ended up with a fractured field largely from the Chicago suburbs. That allowed Brady, the lone Downstate candidate, to win with less than 21 percent of the vote.

Pat Brady, the state Republican chairman, said he is encouraging a plan in which the Republican Governors Association and other groups with an interest in the Illinois governorship would play a role in winnowing a primary field. The RGA spent $9.5 million on Sen. Brady’s losing effort to Quinn, and the belief among some is that a moneyed interest could provide the clout that Republican leaders lack in trying to get people out of a primary race.

“I am going to try to get leadership that supports governor candidates, like the RGA and others, to come into Illinois and sit down and figure out how would we handle this better than we did last time,” Pat Brady said.

“But it’s a fine dance because we promote open primaries and the base of our party likes open primaries,” he added. “We need to get some structure on this and some reality checks on this so we don’t have happen what happened last time.”

Labor unions often help winnow the Democratic gubernatorial field. An early endorsement by the Illinois AFL-CIO gave Rod Blagojevich’s chances a huge boost in 2001, for example.

But those are state and local organizations. Bringing in a national organization like the RGA would open the state party up to all sorts of criticism.

And, frankly, fighting the last war is never very effective. And not heeding the lessons of the last war isn’t all that effective either. The truth is, it’s highly doubtful that many of those candidates would’ve dropped out of the 2010 GOP primary if the big boys had mostly united behind one candidate. The egos were just too big and the prize too within reach to convince them to get out. The “establishment” was mostly (not completely, but mostly) behind Sen. Kirk Dillard. But that sure didn’t stop Bill Brady, who was trailing in the polls almost the whole way. And it didn’t prevent other DuPage County Republicans from running, either.

And does anybody think that a “consensus” candidate will stop people like Dan Proft from running again? Nope. He’ll do what he wants and he’s still sitting on a half million dollars.

Also, money does not guarantee success. If it did, a whole lot of big money Republicans would’ve won their gubernatorial primaries in the past decade.

So, while this looks good on paper, it may not work out so well for the GOP. But, I guess, they gotta try something different.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

30 Comments
  1. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 9:28 am:

    So the foreign TShirt vendor needs help to do his job? Wasn’t he able to slam Rodney the cash transfer expert into the COngressional campaign using just his might?
    The RGA was involved in 2010. They just bungled their job and wasted all that cash. Let’s let the rich and super rich guys from Chicago pick someone…then we can really see who likes downstate IL
    Fire,Aim, Ready!


  2. - Uncle Milty - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 9:29 am:

    Ok, so let’s start carving up the pie. Proft in the biggest tea party election cycle (2010) garners 6%. So that drops a bit to 4% this cycle. Leaving 94% to be carved up by the remaining candidates. If neither Schock or Rutherford pull the trigger, Brady will have all of downstate to himself. he could definitely be the nominee.


  3. - too obvious - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 9:31 am:

    Absolutely ridiculous.

    Few thought Pat Brady could become a bigger embarrassment to the GOP. Brady is doing a horrible job on the stuff he’s SUPPOSED to be doing. Why would he even think about delving into something that shouldn’t even be on his to-do list? Crazy.

    Besides doesn’t the guy have “I hate Mike Madigan” t-shirts to hawk?


  4. - TwoFeetThick - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 9:47 am:

    “What I’d like to do,” noted Republican Party chairman, Pat Brady, “is get the big boys together in the back room to pick our candidate, just like in the old days. You know, the Republican Party has been working hard nationally to return this country to the solid values of the 1890’s. I figure, why not select our 2014 gubernatorial candidate the way they did then, too.”


  5. - SO IL M - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 9:49 am:

    Well one thing is for sure, Pat Brady definately needs some help. But bringing in outsiders to tell you who to nominate for Gov isnt the right answer. No Republican will win until they can come up with good workable plans, and not rely on “We aint them”. You have to show what your ideas are, and why you are right and they are wrong. They lost the last two elections because of two things: They did not lay out good workable plans that appealed to voters. They didnt even appeal to many Republicans much less independants. And second, when you cant tell the difference between those claiming to be conservative and those claiming to be liberal, then you might as well stick with what you have. And voters stuck with what they had.


  6. - Conservative Republican - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 9:53 am:

    “And, frankly, fighting the last war is never very effective. And not heeding the lessons of the last war isn’t all that effective either. The truth is, it’s highly doubtful that many of those candidates would’ve dropped out of the 2010 GOP primary if the big boys had mostly united behind one candidate. The egos were just too big and the prize too within reach to convince them to get out. The “establishment” was mostly (not completely, but mostly) behind Sen. Kirk Dillard. But that sure didn’t stop Bill Brady, who was trailing in the polls almost the whole way. And it didn’t prevent other DuPage County Republicans from running, either.

    And does anybody think that a “consensus” candidate will stop people like Dan Proft from running again? Nope. He’ll do what he wants and he’s still sitting on a half million dollars.”

    Miller, when you have your A game on, you can be brilliant. This is an example. Every Republican Party leader in the state should have the above passage from your post read to them each night they go to bed from now until filing for 2014 ends. I’m sure its not your intention to do a favor for the Republican Party, but your apt observations perform a service for them, if they can only see it.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 10:16 am:

    Rich, next time give us an easier question like “Define ‘Pi’ in its relation to astro-physics”…

    In this specific area, I feel for Pat Brady, no snark. The ILGOP has no mechanism to regain a sense of Hierarchy that existed during the Thompson/Edgar/Ryan run, and like a “fall of a civilization”, the ILGOP is the Wild West in Hierarchy of candidate positioning.

    Now the other side of the coin …

    We as the GOP ourselves complain about “my turn” candidates … Dole, McCain, etc. Why are there “my turn” candidates? Hierarchy. Illinois Republicans this last time made the case for Kirk Dillard as “his turn”. The Hierarchy was missing to ensure “party” members would back off, and when looking like a vulnerable candidate, Dillard welcomed “all comers” with that vulnerability.

    Add in to the silly notion that the DuPage GOP is still the juggernaut that, at the turn of a switch, can get hundreds of votes to swing at their whim for whomever they wish.

    Alot there, right?

    We are not fond of “my turn” candiadtes, and … we would really like to narrow the field down to about 18 …

    After all this … my take is pretty simple. We signed up for democracy. Our two-party system claims to be inclusive. Let ‘em all run and let’s see how it goes …

    Now, we, the ILGOP, have put the party in peril by not winning the Mansion. The ILGOP is an organization based on an Alpha, and whole bunch of others. When Rod took away the Governor’s Mansion, the ILGOP has never been the same. Why? There was no Alpha. With respect to Judy, and to Jim Ryan, and even to Bill Brady, but running for governor and BEING the Governor is different in the ILGOP.

    Again, no snark. Jim Edgar is right. The ILGOP is not going to be the same until we get the Mansion back.

    Whew! OK … So let it ride. Who is to say the Kazillionaire can’t get us all to rally? Who is to say Rutherford couldn’t do it, or Dillard, or Radogno … or whoever!!

    Where we are failing …and where Pat Brady fails… is that after the Primary, conservatives, moderates, women, minorities, upstate, downstate, …even Chicago … all Republicans have to rally around the winner. Have to … HAVE TO!

    The Dems, especially in Illinois get that. “We lost, back this guy, (s)he ain’t a Republican”. we as a party have not done that in a LONG time.

    I want to give Dillard credit for recognizing that when he told the delegation why he backed Brady easily and quickly. That is a statesman. We have tons of candidates, but how many statesman?

    So the solution to Brady’s problem in this post? I don’t have the first dang clue. I know that until we, the ILGOP, actually win the Mansion back this will be our reality.

    I know that whomever wins the primary needs all of us to rally around them to WIN in the General Election to get that Mansion, and maybe, just maybe, the ILGOP will get back on its axis.

    Like JIm Edgar said …

    It always comes back to Edgar …and if we rally and get the Mansion back, it might not be about Edgar anymore, and be more about the future.

    Gotta start somewhere.


  8. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 10:29 am:

    The GOP has a party chair who doesn’t seem to like or trust Republican voters very much.

    We’ve all joked about Madigan hand-picking Pat Brady. But in all seriousness Madigan couldn’t find a better person to head the IL GOP and keep it irrelevant.


  9. - Shore - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 10:31 am:

    As a Republican I want as many bloody messy primaries as we can get until we figure out what the party stands for and which leaders are capable of delivering on that. I like Mark Kirk, but I don’t think he should be annointed party boss as Mark Brown indicated he might be and he and brady were 2 completely different candidates in 2010 and represented 2 different wings of the party. We need to see which of these folks can put it all together and that won’t be solved by having some hacks from virginia in dc trying to play king maker.

    Dillard to me is complete barf, we’ve heard for 20 years how great edgar was, how he was part of team edgar and yet he hasn’t been able to move the dials down in springfield. Political office is not a coronation and if all the young faces we saw last night at the convention speaking were an indication, the party is moving forward not looking backward to faces like his and rutherfords and bradys.


  10. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 10:56 am:

    Instant runoff voting would allow everyone that wants to run to do so while still building a consensus. You rank all the candidates which lets you pick the candidate you really want but, when that candidate is in last place, that vote gets dropped and your next highest ranked candidate gets your vote. Continue until one candidate has at least 50% of the vote. The number of rounds it takes determines how much of a consensus the ultimate winner had. If you win after the first or second round, you should do well. If it took 5 or 6, you might want to up your game for the general election.


  11. - Third Reading - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 10:56 am:

    Our present electoral method - winning primaries via pathetically small pluralities, as Brady and Blagojevich did - is a really crummy way to go. We all know that.

    But bring in the “big boys” to winnow fields? Talk about an affront to democracy!

    Let’s change the system, friends. And let the VOTERS do the winnowing.

    Instant runoff voting (or ranked voting) is a proven method of winnowing that assures that winners have absolute majorities. Every time.

    For a good thumbnail description, see: http://www.fairvote.org/How-Instant-Runoff-Voting-Works#.UD43VMFlTTg

    I’m outta here.


  12. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 11:10 am:

    This Dem wants a stronger, healthier GOP in Illinois, as a partner in fixing the state. It makes for better, less fear-based government, with more willingness to reach compromise solutions.


  13. - Adam Smith - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 11:30 am:

    Pat Brady is dead wrong.

    The top tier candidates with a high likelyhood of running (Dillard, Schock, Rutherford) have to show they can put together what they need to break Bill Brady’s lackluster 21% primary vote. If someone has to be handed the nomination they have little chance of winning the general.

    If they can’t, then they don’t deserve the nomination. The surest way for the Republicans to hate their own nominee is to feel he/she was picked by someone else.

    If Dillard can expand his 2010 base geographically and financially and find a real message other than “I know lots about state government,” he should be the guy to beat.


  14. - reformer - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    == In this specific area, I feel for Pat Brady, no snark. The ILGOP has no mechanism to regain a sense of Hierarchy that existed during the Thompson/Edgar/Ryan run, and like a “fall of a civilization”, the ILGOP is the Wild West in Hierarchy of candidate positioning…Jim Edgar is right. The ILGOP is not going to be the same until we get the Mansion back. ==

    This is the most astute analysis today. Thanks, Willie, for explaining it so well.

    I second the call for IRV. It eliminates the spoiler effect, and it encourages positive campaigns, since mudslingers are unlikely to be the second choice of any other candidate’s supporters.

    I also agree with “walkinfool.” If the GOP gets the governor’s mansion, then statehouse Republicans will once again act responsibly, providing votes in structured rollcalls for the difficult things that need to get done.


  15. - Jeff Trigg - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 11:55 am:

    25,000 valid signatures in 90 days, instead of 5,000 like for independents, would go a long ways toward reducing the voters’ choice in their primary, if thats what they really want to do. It’d be hilarious for once to see the Ds and Rs try to meet the 25,000 signature requirement they place on everyone else.

    IRV would be the best option for the voters. Voters deserve more choices, not fewer, especially in Illinois. If only we could get so-called Democrats to start believing in democracy again.


  16. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 12:05 pm:

    –“I am going to try to get leadership that supports governor candidates, like the RGA and others, to come into Illinois and sit down and figure out how would we handle this better than we did last time,” Pat Brady said.–

    Quite a revealing analysis of your leadership there, Brady.

    Here’s way to handle it better than last time. Why don’t you resign and let a smart, hard-working grownup take over? Your silly kid games are an embarrassment.

    It’s amazing to me that you didn’t resign in shame after Brady lost to Quinn. In a historic GOP year. In a bad economy. With Blago wrapped around Quinn’s neck. You still lost to Quinn, for crying out loud.

    Millions spent on TV and you got 29% in Cook County? You got hammered there by half a million votes? And you didn’t resign in shame?

    You have to be Madigan’s stooge. Nothing else makes sense.


  17. - future - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 12:09 pm:

    Dillard IS the future - a class guy with the great family - adorable young kids and - if I may add - a smoking hot wife. He can win AND govern. He’s the perfect fit and image for the party


  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 12:20 pm:

    My advice to the GOP: remember that “winnowing the field” is how Democrats stuck themselves with Blagojevich.

    Also, as you prepare to drool all over Rauner, remember Blair Hull.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 12:22 pm:

    ===Why don’t you resign and let a smart, hard-working grownup take over? Your silly kid games are an embarrassment.===

    That is really what SHOULD happen …

    We wouldn’t and shouldn’t be having any of these conversations …


  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 12:23 pm:

    @future -

    While Schock rolls out his “must never have lost a race” litmus test, others in the party roll out their “must have kids” litmus test.

    It’s your party, but the invite list is getting pretty short.


  21. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    – others in the party roll out their “must have kids” litmus test.–

    Yeah, Cincy rolled that one out yesterday in regards to Rutherford. He never did say if he was speaking for Sen. Dillard.

    So subtle. I wonder what he meant?

    Clearly, peeking in your neighbor’s bedroom window is the path to a revitalized Illinois GOP.

    A lot of folks in today’s GOP just don’t like the 21st Century. Maybe they could clue us in on which of the sixty of so centuries they believe the planet has existed that they favor.

    Flinstones, meet the Flinstones…..


  22. - titan - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:32 pm:

    There seems to be several people pushing Instant Runoff Voting above. It has some neat features conceptually, but figures to be somewhat lacking in the real world workability.
    IRV offers the theoretical possibility to get the person nominated/elected who as the widest support (albeit somewhat shallow support) instead of someone with a modest plurality of deep support but widespread antipathy.
    However, I don’t think it necessasily works as well in a real world application - you would have to get essentially all of the voters thoroughly familiar with all of the candidates AND get them to rank all of them on the ballot all the way from 1 to (however many there are). IRV doesn’t work all that well if people don’t rank every candidate all the way down to X (or rank two people as #3). It is also not something that lends itself easily to implementing with the current voting equipment.


  23. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:46 pm:

    BTW, aren’t the “party fathers” who ‘winnowed down the field’ the ones who first gave the GOP JACK! Ryan and then Alan Keyes?


  24. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 2:37 pm:

    BTW -

    - reformer -, thanks … appreciate it.


  25. - reformer - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 4:38 pm:

    == It’s amazing to me that you didn’t resign in shame after Brady lost to Quinn. In a historic GOP year. In a bad economy. With Blago wrapped around Quinn’s neck. You still lost to Quinn, for crying out loud.==

    The consequences of that 2010 debacle will become visible on Nov. 6, 2012, when the IL GOP loses congressional seats and probably legislative seats as well.

    I predict Brady still won’t resign in shame. He’ll just plot a new version of a “Blame Madigan” campaign for ‘14.


  26. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 8:05 pm:

    @reformer -

    Brady won’t resign in shame, he’ll definitely want to stick around to screw up the 2014 ticket.

    As for the “Blame Madigan” campaign, I think after the election and after some form of pension reform is passed, Republicans will pivot to talking about repealing the tax hike.

    Madigan and Cullerton will then send legislation to the governor that repeals the tax hike. And guts every single program Republicans care about along the way.

    You want smaller government? Fine. Sorry we have to close Eastern Illinois, Northern Illinois, and Illinois State universities.

    Illinois broke…haven’t you heard?

    School funding formula? Had to be changed…Plainfield is gonna have to find a way to fund its own schools.


  27. - Hawkeye - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 9:19 pm:

    Please….NOT Bill Brady again!!! No ultra conservative candidate has a prayer of winning a statewide general election. Can they not see this???


  28. - Samarai - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 10:49 pm:

    If there is a Republican Chairman to blame for the 2010 election fiasco it belongs with Andy McKenna who as we know resigned the Chairman’s post to run for Governor. Pat Brady was left with a mess and ultimately his short term efforts to unify the party failed because of the fractured DuPage GOP. Had Jim Ryan not entered the race, Dillard likely would have been the GOP candidate and he would have defeated Quinn.

    As an aside, Mr. Rauner ought to consider the McKenna experience before throwing his money into the election. Illinois voters have not been particularly benevolent to those who aspire to attain office soley through the strength of their wealth.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 11:15 pm:

    ===Had Jim Ryan not entered the race, Dillard likely would have been the GOP candidate and he would have defeated Quinn.===

    If Dillard would have ran any type of field operation that could find … less than a vote EXTRA a precinct …

    We can play “what if” till the cows come home, or until “Sundown tomorrow” … but Dillard lost and that is that. If you are hanging your hat on candidate that had no field ops to get through the Priamry, which you need to do to GET to the General Election, then your arguement is weak and loses weight.


  30. - someonehastosayit - Thursday, Aug 30, 12 @ 6:40 am:

    Third Reading beat me to it…Instant Run-off Voting. The Republican Party could do the state and the nation the best favor ever by implementing IRV and demonstrating its value to the voter.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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