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Republicans sticking with the Madigan “issue”

Tuesday, Oct 11, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Pearson

After a tumultuous weekend for Donald Trump, the Illinois Republican Party plans to stay the course for now and focus on legislative attacks against Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan rather than work to distance itself from the controversial GOP presidential nominee.

Republican campaign strategists and activists said the reason is twofold: Trump is highly unlikely to defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Illinois, a traditional blue state in presidential years; and they contend any Trump tarnish won’t extend all the way down to the General Assembly campaigns at the center of the Nov. 8 state GOP strategy. […]

One Republican legislative campaign consultant, who was not authorized to speak publicly about strategy, said he believes no one knows about the extent of a Trump factor on down-ballot races for a few more weeks “when the wind blows and people start to move.”

At the same time, however, he said efforts by Democrats to connect local Republican legislative candidates to Trump lack the “realness” factor compared to GOP efforts to link Madigan to Democratic legislative candidates because the speaker “is a leader and he runs the place.”

Mark Fratella, of Elmhurst, who was a Trump delegate at the party’s national convention in Cleveland, said that because the Republican presidential contender has shifted resources away from Illinois, “now it’s time to just focus on the local races and look at getting rid of the supermajority that Madigan has.”

The Republicans have spent millions of dollars to “burn in” the Madigan issue this year. They’re hoping that this will serve as a sort of firewall with independents.

They’re also hoping that all the high-profile Republican defections from Trump will help convince people that the “Trump” brand is separate and distinct from the “Republican” brand.

But the national GOP is in such crazy disarray right now that nobody really knows what’s about to happen. It could very well turn out to be a wave election and that could wipe out all those expensively well-laid “Because… Madigan!” plans.


  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 3:47 am:

    To the Post,

    I can follow along on the “wave” feel with Trunp, especially the suburban women and Trump so u see water there, will women take Trump out on all Republicans?

    Maybe polling in the micro and the cross tabs of women might give a better clue(?)

  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 4:00 am:

    “under water there”


  3. - Earnest - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 8:01 am:

    Call me crazy, but I still think Rauner’s all about 2018, re-election and having control of the map. What worries me is: the worse off Illinois is by that time, the more effective Rauner thinks his anti-Madigan message will be. What incentive is there to do anything but let the hole grow deeper and deeper?

  4. - jw - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 8:37 am:

    could it be that Rauner attended Trump university and plans to write off all of the millions of dollars if the republican party ceases to exist after Trump.

  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 8:41 am:

    I think those GOP types are whistling past the graveyard.

    Right now, it appears that Trump is more interested in taking down GOP lawmakers than he is on beating Clinton.

    Perhaps Rauner should can that ego-stroke image ad that he’s running (sign on online petition? that’s a call to action in October?).

    Why aren’t they running a “Vote Republican” spot:

    “Illinoisans overwhelmingly want terms limits and redistricting reform. But Mike Madigan and the Democrats are blocking them every step of the way. They won’t even let you have a vote on them. If you want term limits and redistricting reform, vote Republican.”

    And don’t put Rauner in the spot. He’s not very popular, according to polls.

  6. - The Captain - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 8:56 am:

    At the same time, however, he said efforts by Democrats to connect local Republican legislative candidates to Trump lack the “realness” factor compared to GOP efforts to link Madigan to Democratic legislative candidates because the speaker “is a leader and he runs the place.”

    So … just to clarify … they’re not going to connect candidates to Trump, the guy who has monopolized the news in the past week (and not in the good way), and they’re not going to connect candidates to Rauner who is actually the leader who “runs the place” but they are going to look past both of them and connect candidates to Madigan and Madigan only? Yeah sure, your logic seems sound.

  7. - Mal - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 9:11 am:

    I hope Trump further destroys the GOP especially in Illinois so he can send Rauner running back to where he came from.

  8. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 9:18 am:

    It’s a wierd election and we’re probably going to see weird results. For all the talk about how unpopular Trump is, he’s actually not that far behind Hillary in unpopularity (maybe in intensity but not poll numbers). These are two candidates people just plain do not like. There is also probably going to be people either staying at home on election day or turning out for the down ballot vote.

    All of this is the long way of saying, we have no clue what this election is actually going to bring, it’s probably going to have some odd results for an odd year.

  9. - Belle - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 10:06 am:

    Saw a negative Rauner/Trump commercial a couple of times during the AM Shows.
    It shows Trump saying his typical stuff and pans to Rauner and a quote about him supporting the Republican candidate. It happens about 3 times so it’s reinforcing. It’s probably the same shot but used from different angles.

  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 11:17 am:

    But the national GOP is in such crazy disarray right now that nobody really knows what’s about to happen. It could very well turn out to be a wave election and that could wipe out all those expensively well-laid “Because… Madigan!” plans -


    Surf’s UP!

  11. - Johnyy Justice - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 12:41 pm:

    Even tho Clinton will win IL, Trump is still pretty popular in a lot of downstate districts.

    What I’m hearing is voters are completely turned off by this soap opera lower than the gutter Presidential campaign. Voters are so disillusioned, I sense a low turnout as there are so many who just come out every 4 years to vote for President, and not sure how this will affect down ballot races.

  12. - A guy - Tuesday, Oct 11, 16 @ 4:46 pm:

    Of course they’re sticking with it. It’s the only thing 100% of them agree on.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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