* I’m not sure how this is a “major upset” since the party’s chairman was recently kicked out of state GOP headquarters because of his strong support for Jeanne Ives’ campaign. Chairman Chris Cleveland countered by saying: “I ask that you prevail upon Bruce Rauner to stop the petty retribution. This is the Republican Party, not the mob.”
But, anyway, from a press release…
In a major upset, the Central Committee of the Chicago Republican Party voted 17 to 3 with 2 abstentions to back conservative challenger Jeanne Ives over incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner. The vote took place Wednesday evening at a general meeting of the city’s Republican ward committeemen.
Ives spoke to the group for nearly an hour before the vote. Governor Rauner had been invited to speak, but declined to do so. Rauner has avoided large gatherings of Republicans since signing a bill to create taxpayer-funded abortions earlier in the year.
“Jeanne impressed everyone with her determination to hit the state’s problems head-on. She also showed a command of policy details,” said Chris Cleveland, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party.
“It’s almost unheard of for a regular Republican organization to fail to endorse an incumbent governor,” said Cleveland. “The people in the room felt that Rauner had betrayed them.”
The vote kicks off a season of endorsement sessions by county and township Republican organizations in the run-up to the March primary. So far, two suburban organizations have announced endorsements, both for Ives.
The decision by the Chicago Republican Party to back Ives is significant because of the sheer number of votes produced by the City of Chicago. Republicans in the city produce 5% of the Republican primary vote, and 7.5% of the Republican vote in a general election. The number of Republican votes in the city is larger than the number produced by any county except Cook and DuPage. Primary voters often look to local party organizations for guidance on candidate selection.
* From Rep. Ives…
“I am proud to have won the confidence of the Chicago GOP. They are warriors for transparency and small government reforms in a city run almost exclusively by the Chicago Machine. Their bold advocacy will be critical to stoking the revolt, so that we can deliver the conservative reforms Illinoisans were promised in 2014, before Governor Rauner’s wholesale betrayal of the GOP. “
*** UPDATE *** Press release…
COOK COUNTY GOP CHAIRMAN CALLS OUT ILLEGITIMATE ACTIONS BY CHICAGO GOP CLUB LEADER
Chicago, IL – It has come to the attention of Cook County Republican Central Committee Chairman Sean M. Morrison that the Chicago Republican Party led by Mr. Chris Cleveland recently held a meeting of its club. Mr. Cleveland’s expressed intent for this meeting was to usurp the statutory authority of the Cook County Republican Party and its Chairman by illegitimately claiming the authority to appoint individuals to the position of Ward Committeeman.
Chairman Morrison believes that it’s imperative to publicly clarify that the Chicago Republican Party is a private club and holds no statutory authority within the Cook County Republican Central Committee. Thus, Mr. Cleveland has no authority to make any appointments to the position of Ward Committeeman and to indicate otherwise is pure deception.
“I recognize that Mr. Cleveland plays a very prominent role as Campaign Chair for the Jeanne Ives campaign for governor and he has a right to support the candidate of his choice. But, that does not mean that he can manipulate the use and influence of his role as Chairman of the Chicago Republican Club to mislead individuals into the belief that he can appoint them to the position of Ward Committeeman. His sole intent was to manufacture some sort of perceived endorsement for his candidate Jeanne Ives,” said Chairman Morrison.
Mr. Cleveland’s actions are nothing more than a blatant exploitation of his club and its By-Laws and are eerily reminiscent of the actions taken by former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz when she helped rig the DNC support and primary election in favor of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Mr. Cleveland’s unilateral actions are an attempt to de-legitimize the vote and influence of every single Republican Committeeman in Cook County.
Deputy Chairman Aaron Del Mar added, “Mr. Cleveland’s deceitful actions have raised grave concern from numerous legitimate Republican Committeemen throughout Cook County. These actions appear to indicate a level of desperation on behalf of the Jeanne Ives campaign for governor. I’m hopeful Jeanne Ives had no previous knowledge of this rigged endorsement stunt and I call on her to publicly disavow Chris Cleveland and the devious actions he took on behalf of her campaign. I would also hope that this is not an indication on how she would govern, if elected.”