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Some Illinois Republicans skittish about attending national convention

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Greg Hinz

Today, as the party prepares to assemble in some combination of Charlotte, N.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., things are a little different. The list of Illinois delegates to Trump’s celebration of himself is, for the most part, composed of lower-lower dignitaries—a number of them concerned about catching COVID-19 and wondering whether they’ll really attend. To give just one example: Of the five GOP House members from the state—the number was in the double digits for decades—I can confirm only two who are definitely planning to attend. […]

With Trump fairly popular south of I-80 but pretty much toxic in the more populous north, that doesn’t leave much appeal. Add in a little COVID-19 and you get a delegate list that appears to include just two sitting state senators (including Senate GOP Leader Bill Brady) and three representatives.

For instance, while Brady will be there, House GOP Leader Jim Durkin says he, at most, will drop by briefly, and suggests that’s a long shot. “My focus is supporting state party efforts, especially in the House,” he tells me. He adds, “In that part of the world (Florida and North Carolina) there is a return of the virus at dangerous levels. I’ll make that decision (whether to attend) as we get closer.” […]

Not there: Cook County Republican chief Sean Morrison. “I didn’t choose to be a delegate. I have plans it would be hard for me to get away from,” he tells me. “I decided to leave the spot for other people who would like to be there.” I couldn’t reach DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin. But he’s not now listed as a delegate.

* Update

One of the most prominent Illinoisans scheduled to attend this summer’s Republican National Convention now is sending word he may take a pass.

In an email, Jason Gerwig, the spokesman for Illinois Senate GOP Leader Bill Brady, said his trip to the August convention is “still being discussed, not locked in.” […]

“No change, just working on scheduling. Got ahead of myself,” Gerwig replied. But Brady was named a delegate to the convention by the state party at its meeting just nine days ago, and I have a hunch that wouldn’t have happened if he said he might not go.

I reached out to Greg yesterday to ask about the congressional delegation. LaHood is a delegate, so it’s assumed he’ll go. Bost’s spouse is a delegate, so Greg assumes he’ll be there. Davis’ folks didn’t call back. Shimkus is retiring. Kinzinger’s people said he has not yet decided.

* You gotta figure Rodney Davis will go because he has tied himself so closely to the POTUS. Here’s Bernie

“I certainly hope the president is re-elected,” Davis said. “I think outside of this pandemic, we would have had historic economic growth. We would have continued (the) sustained, lowest unemployment levels in my lifetime. I believe that working with the president, we’ve enacted good policies.”

       

45 Comments
  1. - 32nd warder - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 9:42 am:

    Isn’t Cronin a germaphobe? I don’t say that as an insult, simply matter of fact. I would say its highly unlikely Mr. Cronin will go anywhere near these conventions.


  2. - So_Ill - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 9:46 am:

    “Historic economic growth.” Lol. That’s cute, Rodney.


  3. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 9:48 am:

    Strange. Florida is really nice in August too.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 9:52 am:

    There’s not a single reason to attend that convection, or the Democratic convention either.

    When you think about all that’s *not* going to happen this summer, who thinks meeting for a multiple day convention is wise?

    Maybe the 6,200 people who attended in Tulsa, but I digress…


  5. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 9:53 am:

    ===outside of this pandemic===

    “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”


  6. - Nagidam - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 9:54 am:

    Do we know what the IL Democrat’s are doing or is that a story for tomorrow.


  7. - efudd - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    “Historic economic growth”

    Google “GDP Obama’s last three years, Trump’s first three”

    Standard and Poor’s volume increased by over 1,200 during Obama’s presidency. That’s after inheriting the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression
    During Trump’s tenure, less than 400.

    Seriously, if you’re dabbling in idolatry at least come up with some nonsense that isn’t so easy to debunk.


  8. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    “Do we know what the IL Democrat’s are doing or is that a story for tomorrow.”

    That would be more of a story if the GOP hasn’t been pretending like COVID-19 doesn’t exist for the past four months. This is one of those “put your money where your mouth is” moments for all of the Trumpers who have been insisting that businesses reopen, unemployment benefits be rolled back, and everyone (everyone else, apparently) go back to “normal” to sacrifice themselves for the economy.

    If the IL Dems end up having a scaled back convention, it’s not that much of a story because they have been actually taking this pandemic seriously.


  9. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:09 am:

    A germaphobe would have an irrational fear of germs

    Fearing Covid would not be considered irrational, quite the contrary

    Historic economic growth for the past 3 years across all income groups is factual pre COVID.


  10. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:12 am:

    Much easier to take the pandemic seriously and preach to everyone how responsible you are if your income hasn’t dried up completely like it has for so many private sector businesses and workers


  11. - Undercover - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:18 am:

    The Dems don’t want a convention because then it will expose Biden as the confused guy he has been these last few months. It has nothing to do with Covid. Even the former DNC chairman said the best place for him is in his basement.


  12. - Nagidam - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:19 am:

    @NIU Grad

    Not entirely true. Some people might not want to go because Trump is toxic. So the opposite of what you posted might be the reality for the Democrats. Yes they have been rightfully concerned about COVID and taking the Restore Illinois program seriously. What is the story line if they do attend? Same as the protests?


  13. - Fixer - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:20 am:

    Best place for him is at home because he falls into one of the higher risk categories. Fixed that for you, Undercover.


  14. - Rachel - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:28 am:

    Not much to laugh about these days but I opened the comments to this thread with high hopes. Willy and 47th Ward, you did not disappoint. Thanks.


  15. - Hamlet's Ghost - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:32 am:

    Same as it ever was

    Greg Hinz on the 2016 GOP convention:

    ==Also on the no-show list, sources say, are such high-profile, heavily involved Republicans as DuPage County Board President Dan Cronin, Illinois Toll Highway Authority Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, Illinois Manufacturers Association President Greg Baise, top fundraiser Ron Gidwitz and Regional Transportation Authority Chairman Kirk Dillard, though the latter said he may drive in one day for a public transit event. ==

    https://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20160705/BLOGS02/160709952/illinois-gop-establishment-takes-a-pass-on-donald-trump-s-cleveland-convention


  16. - Taft - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:37 am:

    I would be skittish too. After Trump’s megaflop in Tulsa, he’ll work hard to keep indoor arenas packed with crowds who taunt folks who wear a face mask and attempt to social distance. This is a recipe for disaster. Not sure how you can enjoy any event when you are also worrying about getting ill and infecting loved ones and friends upon your return home.


  17. - Hamlet's Ghost - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:37 am:

    I wonder if Jeanne Ives will attend


  18. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    I know most people like a big party but maybe the nominating conventions have seen their day. Unless a contested convention what is the point? Have a one day extra tans bring out the VP choice.


  19. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:45 am:

    Something important to keep in mind about the conventions is that the delegates (at least on the Democratic side) are responsible for paying their own way. Some are wealthy enough that it’s not an issue, some are fine with putting it on the credit card (It’s the American Way) but others scrounge, attempt to fund raise (with varying success), but either way it is a very expensive undertaking.

    Something like asking delegates to self isolate for two weeks before the convention, wear masks the whole time, and making arrangements at the venue for excessive ventilation could work, but that’s placing voluntary compliance on people from all walks of life that likely need to be able to work for the two weeks leading up to it — of course none of those kinds of safety measures may be considered acceptable to the GOP.

    This seems like an expensive undertaking for the delegates where it is going to be difficult to mitigate risks. However, the nominating process is an incredibly important part of the party politics, and how these things play out is typically critically important to the party going forward — though again with the GOP opting to not hold primaries in many states, and how unspecific their platform tends to be, there’s a lot of room for debate there.

    Generally speaking I would imagine that the conventions aren’t able to be done remotely, that they could have their schedules dramatically shortened.

    That being said and partisan politics being what it is, there are very likely many folks that would volunteer even knowing the risks of infection, but it would be a disaster for either party if they try to hold their conventions and a significant number of delegate simply do not arrive, so I would imagine each state party would be able to sub out a delegate that is not willing to attend for concerns over COVID-19 risks.

    It’s not like the residents of the 12th Congressional District are used to seeing Bost at anything anyhow.


  20. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:49 am:

    “Florida is really nice in August too.”

    Don’t forget to wear your cowboy boots and blue jeans. /s


  21. - Pundent - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:57 am:

    There’s a lot that will happen between now an August both Covid and non-Covid related. Trump’s comments at his Tulsa rally make clear what side of history he’s standing on. While Covid may provide cover for no shows, I expect that many would have thought long and hard about aligning with Trump’s current messaging. Could be a long walk-back after November.


  22. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 10:58 am:

    Just because attendance was not what was promised and CNN and MSNBC did not broadcast it does not mean the Trump rally was a megaflop Taft

    “President Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Okla., generated the largest Saturday audience in Fox News Channel’s 24-year history in delivering 7.7 million viewers, according to the early Nielsen data.”

    At least 4 million others watched online

    https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/503768-trump-campaign-touts-4m-online-viewers-for-tulsa-rally

    https://thehill.com/homenews/media/503908-trump-rally-delivers-saturday-record-77-million-viewers-on-fox-news


  23. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:03 am:

    How can the republican’ts put their money where their mouth is when they are talking out of both sides of a mouth?


  24. - Beecher - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:10 am:

    Who’s representing Illinois at the Charlotte part of the convention?


  25. - Undercover - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:15 am:

    Trump will stand tall with Republicans and lead While the Dems will do all they can to keep Biden under wraps. They don’t fear COVID exposure as much as they fear Biden being exposed. LOL


  26. - Lynn S. - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:16 am:

    Don’t know where you live, efudd, but I have the displeasure of living in “Where’s Rodney?”’s district.

    To say that particular Congress Critter isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer is to insult all the knives in the drawer that aren’t sharp.


  27. - Paddyrollingstone - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:21 am:

    The father of a close friend is a Trump delegate but he is in his 80s. I can’t imagine he would go.


  28. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:27 am:

    “Just because attendance was not what was promised and CNN and MSNBC did not broadcast it does not mean the Trump rally was a megaflop”

    Trump’s demeanor getting leaving Marine One told the whole tale on the rally’s success or failure.

    – MrJM


  29. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:39 am:

    Are these the same Republican who are suing the Pritzker Admin to allow them to meet in large groups? If so, what does their reticence to go to the convention say about the seriousness of their lawsuit?


  30. - Taft - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:41 am:

    ==Trump will stand tall with Republicans==

    The leader of free world just got outfoxed by a handful of teenagers on Tik-Tok. I’d be very careful about standing too close to Trump.


  31. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    “Trump will stand hunched over and gnawing at the carcass of the Republican party and lose. While Democrats will nominate a true leader who will heal the wounds of a suffering country.”

    Fixed it for ya.


  32. - Undercover - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:50 am:

    To Huh, Biden acts like a ventriloquist dummy. Just moved his mouth without knowing what he is saying. Maybe Joe can get another sweet deal for his family from China and Ukraine


  33. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    MrJM

    Only the election in the Fall will determine the success or failure, not polling and the news cycle.

    Can you post some videos of what some prominent Democrats look like when they get home after midnight after a long day? Perhaps you can set it to music to make your point.

    President takes his tie off after midnight and appears tired is news these days. Notice how the substance of the remarks at rally isn’t the story?

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/22/trump-sad-walk-shame-after-tulsa-rally-inspires-memes


  34. - Hamlet's Ghost - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:57 am:

    ==Trump will stand tall with Republicans==

    Well okay, but there are few if any IL Republicans from north of I-80 willing to stand with the President.

    Jim Durkin? Dan Cronin? Jim Oberweis? Jeanne Ives? Anyone anyone has ever heard of?


  35. - Ike - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:57 am:

    Undercover - but you have no problem with Trump trying to get special deals with Ukraine and China to help himself and family in the election. What a hypocrite.


  36. - Lynn S. - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    Lucky Pierre, if you can be bothered to read any newspaper with a circulation over 10,000, you’ll see that there was indeed coverage of Trump’s Tulsa remarks.

    Really short version: 99% was his usual gibberish, and the audience ate it up.

    I did see tv segments that highlighted his “Kung flu” comment. Trump and his viewers may think it was clever and funny; the rest of us know it’s a thinly-veiled racist statement and a willful misrepresentation of the virus’ name.

    But the pictures of all those empty seats. Hilarious (multiple banned punctuations). I can’t speak for anyone else, but that warmed my cockles. Along with the hope that we’ll have news stories in a few weeks of how many Covid-19 infections trace back to this stunt.


  37. - Pundent - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 12:23 pm:

    =Notice how the substance of the remarks at rally isn’t the story?=

    You mean his 17 minute riff on walking down a ramp or him bemoaning that we’re doing too much Covid testing?


  38. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 12:41 pm:

    Ike - you forgot to add all of the other foreign governments, political groups, and people wanting to curry his favor are spending millions at his DC hotel.


  39. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    ==Much easier to take the pandemic seriously and preach to everyone how responsible you are==

    You know what else helps to make it easier to take the pandemic seriously? Having a leader that takes it seriously. And the President of the United States certainly isn’t taking it seriously or he wouldn’t have had his ridiculous rally and he wouldn’t be having a large gathering today either.

    Try being less of a hyperpartisan hack for once and say something intelligent.


  40. - Practical Politics - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    Lots of Democratic delegates and alternates would have been taking buses from Northern Illinois to attend the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee (Pritzker could have stayed at his horse farm and hosted a reception for the Illinois delegates).

    Milwaukee does not have sufficient hotel rooms for major events as was demonstrated by the MLB All-Star game in 2002.

    Now, Illinois is going to lose income from hotel rentals if the Democratic National Convention is canceled or if it becomes a virtual convention.


  41. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 2:19 pm:

    === Now, Illinois is going to lose income from hotel rentals if the Democratic National Convention is canceled or if it becomes a virtual convention===

    Better than losing lives to an avoidable pandemic resurgence. If I want to be mercenary about it; better than losing a large number of ground troops (many sick for weeks, some never to recover) leading into the fall campaign season.


  42. - Mama - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    Rich, I heard Trump is having another rally in Chicago. Is that true? I cannot imagine the governor allowing a large rally in IL.


  43. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    ===“I think outside of this pandemic, we would have had historic economic growth.===

    Rodney Davis should really go into standup comedy.


  44. - Pundent - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    =Rich, I heard Trump is having another rally in Chicago.=

    I question your news source. There’s little benefit in the President holding a rally in a state that he lost by 16%. If he couldn’t get people to show up in Tulsa what do you think his chances would be in Chicago?


  45. - MickJ - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 2:55 pm:

    Is it Biden hiding in the bunker of Trump?

    Good idea for Biden to act presidential by drinking a glass of water with two hands, taking five minutes to walk down a ramp and telling 15 pants-on-fires in a five minute speech.


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