There was no sugarcoating it at the dour breakfast before the party’s pep rally at the Illinois State Fair. Things are not great for the state’s Republicans a year after Gov. Bruce Rauner lost re-election, and Pritzker quickly racked up major legislative accomplishments.
“We had a rough year,” Illinois Republican Party co-chair Tim Schneider said. “We lost the governor’s mansion. We have no statewide office holders, and we lost several legislative seats. But that’s our current reality, but it doesn’t and it won’t be our future.” […]
He said Republicans are in a “bunker” with the opportunity to come back “and be better than ever in 2020 and beyond.” […]
Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said Republicans must “continue to fight them [Democrats] at every turn,” calling the graduated income tax “the killer of killers.”
“This past session there was one of the most aggressive, progressive returns that I’ve seen in all of my life and anywhere in the United States,” Durkin, R-Western Springs, said. “This progressive agenda that the Democrats passed is not yours. It’s not mine. Nor does it reflect the majority of Illinois’ morals and values.”
“It won’t be our future. We can sulk and complain and do nothing. Or we can offer a vision of opportunity for the future,” said Schneider, who himself was defeated last year in his bid for reelection to the Cook County Board.
Still, as Schneider acknowledged a need for Republicans to “provide solutions for the pressing issues of our time” and offer voters a “positive vision” for 2020, he was unable to articulate a message forward. Instead, he said the state GOP “will map out a plan and a future for the party” at its state convention next year.
Symbolizing the state GOP’s situation, an attempt to conference call top Republican leaders who were unable to get to Springfield resulted in a recording of an operator saying the number they had dialed was out of service. […]
“Can you imagine a Democrat Party that invites the most liberal, socialistic member of the United States Congress to be their keynote speaker? Can you imagine that?” [Senate GOP Leader Bill Brady] said. “Ladies and gentlemen, if they want to bring Nancy Pelosi to Illinois, we know what that would tell moderates and independents and how they need to come back to the ranks of the Republican Party.”
* WGN TV…
As the Republican insiders plot a course forward, they remain upbeat and on the attack.
“You may have heard of AOC… AOC stands for absolutely out of control,” said Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria).
House GOP Leader Jim Durkin said the “socialist agenda” is “not Illinois.”
* Speaking of socialism…
* Capitol News Illinois…
Scalise was the keynote speaker at the Republican Day picnic at the fair, where the theme of the day was “Fight the Machine,” a reference to the Illinois Democratic Party. He noted that Louisiana politics was also once dominated by a Democratic machine, but Republicans have since wrested control of it.
“The ghost of Huey Long still walks the state capitol in Baton Rouge in many places, but we finally took it back,” he said. “Today we have majorities in the House, in the Senate, and by the end of this year we will have every single statewide elected office as Republican. That’s how far we’ve come. And in just a short period of time, you can do that too.”
* Illinois Public Radio…
“We’ll tell you right out of the box: J.B. Pritzker has unlimited resources,” he said, “but we believe we have a message and we will build the resources necessary. The Democrats will always out-raise us, but we’ll out-message them.”
According to the Illinois Republican Party’s most recent financial report, it has just over $88,000 on hand. Schneider says Republicans are focusing on broadening their base of small contributors.
* Daily Line…
“Our elections will be local,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) told reporters Thursday. “Democrats will try to nationalize it, but the fact is if they do that, we can do just as good a job [of nationalizing issues].”
Durkin encouraged Republicans Thursday, telling the party faithful that many suburban seats that were lost were only lost narrowly, by 1 percentage point or approximately 300 votes. He said the House GOP would regain those suburban seats, but also set his sights on the St. Louis area — an area that had long been a Democratic labor stronghold, but has in recent years ceded territory to Republicans.
“The Metro East will be ours after this next cycle,” Durkin said.
The HGOPs have a legit shot at picking up two-three seats in the Metro East/southern Illinois area next year: 116th House (appointed Rep. Nathan Reitz); 111th House (Rep. Monica Bristow); 112th House (Rep. Katie Stuart).