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GOP tries to clean up Gidwitz’s mess

Thursday, Jul 30, 2015

* Pearson

A series of verbal gaffes by U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk have left top Illinois Republicans privately fretting over his re-election bid, but they also concede there’s little chance he’ll be pressured into leaving next year’s ticket.

“Not going to happen,” said one prominent Republican close to Gov. Bruce Rauner, a major Kirk ally.

Several factors contribute to the Kirk-or-bust GOP outlook: He’s got the support of Rauner and the Washington GOP establishment. The first-term senator has no intention of leaving. And it’s too late to recruit and fund a major candidate to keep a seat that’s viewed as essential for Republicans to retain their Senate majority in 2016.

Kirk’s camp found itself on the defensive Wednesday, a day after veteran Republican fundraiser and businessman Ron Gidwitz initially called for Kirk to step down because he was hurting the party’s prospects. Gidwitz quickly recanted and endorsed Kirk, but the damage had been done.

* O’Connor

Pat Brady, the former Illinois Republican Party chairman, said the party needs to “rally around” Kirk.

“He’s been a great senator,” Brady said. “He’s been a leader on national security issues. He’s really tried to be bipartisan, which, in Illinois, is important. He’s been good on the environment. He was way out front on the marriage equality issue, so he fits the state perfectly, and he’s a great candidate for us.”

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Tim Schneider, current chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, also expressed support for Kirk’s re-election bid in statements late Tuesday.

Kirk has received widespread financial support, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has been working to get him re-elected.

* Korecki

[Former Gov. Jim Edgar] said he not only believes Kirk can ride out the recent rough waters, but that he may be in the best position to keep the seat in Republican hands in 2016. Edgar notes that 2016 will be an especially challenging year for any Republican, given that it’s a presidential year. Illinois is still a blue state and Democratic turnout is expected to be high.

What’s crucial to Kirk’s survival is receiving Rauner’s unwavering support, those in the party say. In winning back the governor’s mansion last year, Rauner united what was a fractured and cash-strapped Republican party. So far, the deep-pocketed Rauner has pledged Kirk his support.

He held an event for Kirk in March and is expected to appear with the senator this summer in Springfield during the state fair.

“Without the governorship, Republicans aren’t really a cohesive party,” Edgar said. “The governor is the 800-pound gorilla.”

* Meanwhile

While the GOP’s hard line on Planned Parenthood is hardly surprising, it comes as some party strategists have advised members to tread lightly on social issues so as to not turn off young and female voters, especially in purple and blue states.

One Republican apparently taking that advice to heart is Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, who told The Hill this week he doesn’t plan to “cut access to basic health care and contraception for women, the majority of whom have no other resources.”

For their part, Planned Parenthood officials are pushing back vigorously against what they’ve characterized as a right-wing smear campaign.

“These extremists created a fake business, made apparently misleading corporate filings and then used false government identifications to gain access to Planned Parenthood’s medical and research staff with the agenda of secretly filming without consent — then heavily edited the footage to make false and absurd assertions about our standards and services,” Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:35 am:

    Artl, you can have my Cannoli today. You need it more than me.

    I’m embarrassed that a useless ATM machine caused all this flurry of work to reinforce something not needing to be done.

    Please. Mr. Gidwitz. Do you see why no one wants your thoughts said out loud? Just write the checks they tell you to write and “zip it”.

    On second thought, I’ll send you a box of Cannoli, Kevin.

  2. - walker - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    Wonder what Ted Cruz has to say abut his Senate colleague.

    Kirk has been more moderate on social issues than many of his national party. No one had to give him any advice on that score. They should be taking more of his advice.

  3. - The Captain - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:39 am:

    This is going to be a tough time for Kirk and the Tribune but I have complete faith that they will, as always, get through this together.

  4. - Not Again - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:46 am:

    Somewhat sad to see Gidwitz reduce himself to this. I would assume that had he not been shot down so quickly that would have popped up.

  5. - Not Again - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    Or maybe

  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:48 am:


  7. - Arsenal - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:48 am:

    Rauner World is absolutely right. I think Kirk is going to lose next year, but he’s far and away the Republicans’ best shot at keeping the seat.

  8. - chi - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:52 am:

    Despite the fact that he’s right on this issue, from a Republican perspective, what good has Gidwitz ever done for the party? The time period in which his influence was strongest was certainly not a good time for the GOP in Illinois, and his statement about Kirk does not further the chances of the GOP retaining the seat.

  9. - Wow - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:54 am:

    Trump and Kirk at the top of the ticket in Illinois.. Oh boy!!

  10. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:57 am:

    He is our best shot. And whether the “activists” actually get “it” or not, this is where the national campaign committees need to exert their influence as well. I will listen to and take campaign advice from people like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin when they actually, you know, run a campaign or win an election. Until then, I plan on listening to the actual pros and people who do this stuff for a living.

  11. - A guy - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    Gidwitz was way out over his skis and they aren’t that long to begin with. He’s a stooge.
    I’ve never been a huge Kirk fan, but I’ve always supported him as our nominee and Senator. He’s assembled an excellent record as a public servant. His military record is laudable. Like every Senator I’ve ever seen, their deliberative-ness has gotten the best of him more often than some would like. The Senate is full of goofy quotes by members of both parties going back to the beginning.

    He’s done a very good job for Illinois. He’s very highly qualified. His personal struggles have made him stronger, if not more discreet. His resume, service, and public record far, far exceeds that of Tammy Duckworth or Andi Zopp.

    He’s the best, most qualified person in the race. We absolutely should support him. And I will. Vigorously.

  12. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:10 am:

    Chi - he stuck with the ILGOP financially when few others would. He could have bailed or even flipped sides but he did not. He was instrumental in securing a lot of financing for Justice Karmeier’s efforts in 2004.

  13. - Amazing - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:11 am:

    Kirk’s toast, gidwitz was right before he chickened out. Unless they drafted an Edgar type, Zoop or duckworth is going to walk in 60-40.

  14. - From the 'Dale to HP - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:11 am:

    If it’s “too late to recruit and fund a major candidate” for the GOP… then they’re in big, big trouble.

    But personally don’t believe this for a second. Sounds more like a GM giving the coach a vote of confidence…

  15. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:12 am:

    Why does anyone care what Ron Gidwitz thinks? Kirk will win his re-election.

  16. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    @Team Sleep: He didn’t stick with the party during the tough times — he preferred it that way. He LOVES being the key guy. Adjusting to a different Rauner world is what he hates. He was marginally a fund-raising co-chair for Rauner, but they really don’t like each other and Gidwitz resents Rauner coming out of nowhere to now being in charge.

  17. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    A last minute replacement republican candidate for Senator, how’d that work out last time it was tried?

  18. - William - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    I’d rather lose the seat than vote for a Republican afraid of PP.

  19. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    Pat Brady is right.

    The irony of Ron Gidwitz going far off-script while criticizing Mark Kirk for the same thing is delicious.

  20. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:35 am:

    ==Unless they drafted an Edgar type==

    This was being mentioned in comments ironically a few days ago.

    Not sensing any irony here.

  21. - Juvenal - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    === His military record is laudable. ===

    Which one?

  22. - Midstate Indy - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    Anybody called Alan Keyes lately?

  23. - A guy - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:01 pm:

    +++ Juvenal - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    === His military record is laudable. ===

    Which one?+++

    How bout I answer that as soon as you reveal yours?
    He served. A long period of time. With distinction. Embellishment isn’t modest, but it doesn’t diminish decades of service in active and reserve duty.

    You want to diminish anyone’s service in uniform you’re gonna have a big problem with me. (in your case, yet another one. Goof)

  24. - D.P.Gumby - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:01 pm:

    The illegal and fraudulent conduct of the hit group going after Planned Parenthood is what needs to be criminally investigated.

  25. - King Maker - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:13 pm:

    Kirk will be fine but the wild card in this race will be the third person running on the Dem side. He is AA, knows DC politics, and a CC commissioner. Let the games begin.

  26. - Anon - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:46 pm:

    ===“These extremists created a fake business, made apparently misleading corporate filings and then used false government identifications to gain access to Planned Parenthood’s medical and research staff with the agenda of secretly filming without consent”===

    Some days I’m just happy that they’re not blowing up buildings and killing doctors.

  27. - The Velour Nail - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 12:54 pm:

    King Maker, I hope you’re right. I am very interested in a D who can knock off Duckworth b/c otherwise, Kirk takes this by a country mile.

  28. - The Captain - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 1:25 pm:

    The Velour Nail, yesterday’s offer still stands.

  29. - A guy - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 4:12 pm:

    Any rules about bookmaking on this site?

  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 4:22 pm:

    - A Guy -

    “The talking of, let’s say “over/under” or the giving of odds is only for exhibition. It’s not a gaming competition. Please, no wagering.”

  31. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 7:33 pm:

    =You want to diminish anyone’s service in uniform you’re gonna have a big problem with me.=

    You may want to share that sentiment with the RNC, they did a pretty good hatchet job on John Kerry.

    Lying or embellishing ones service record, regardless of length of service, dishonors all those who served proudly, bravely, loyally without the self aggrandizement. People like my father, and brother. Unacceptable.

  32. - Someone you should know - Thursday, Jul 30, 15 @ 10:35 pm:

    Look; not for nothing but the Boykin for senate meme that is being floated here is down right hilarious!!!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
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