* I told subscribers about this attempt to oust Leader Durkin on Thursday morning. Here’s Politico today…
While Democrats wring their hands about leadership, state House Republicans are buzzing about the Nov. 16 vote for minority leader. Rep. Tony McCombie has put her hat in the ring to run against Rep. Jim Durkin, who’s held the position since 2013.
McCombie told Playbook she’s talking to caucus members as she moves to line up support. “What I’m hearing is that people want change,” she said. “We need to build a bench. We need to diversify the caucus. We need more women and people of color. And we need to quit talking about it, take action and do it.”
McCombie’s campaign comes as Republicans nationwide elected at least more 13 women to Congress — a record-breaking recruitment effort.
“We have been the minority party for a long time and haven’t picked up net seats since 2013,” she said. In 2012, House Republicans held 47 seats and today they hold 44. They are picking up two, and possibly three, after Tuesday’s election thanks to the coattails of President Donald Trump. “To hold the majority accountable, we have to expand our caucus not just accept bread crumbs and make deals [with Democrats] that don’t expand our caucus or our voice in Illinois.”
McCombie’s entry in the leadership race prompted Durkin’s team to announce that he’s “already secured a majority of votes” to hold on to the minority leader position, according to a statement sent to Rich Miller’s CapitolFax blog.
That may be so, says McCombie, but an election will prompt some healthy discussion.
If Durkin is right and he’s already secured the majority, then I’m not sure what sort of discussion this challenge will prompt. We’ll see.
And the HGOPs picked up four net seats in 2016, including her seat. The Republicans were slammed all over the country in the 2018 midterms.
Also, Rep. McCombie chairs the House Republican Organization. You know, the same group that recruits candidates, raises money and oversees campaigns. So, when she talks about recruiting more women and people of color and winning more races, that’s actually what she’s supposed to have been doing for the past couple of years.
I asked her about this today and haven’t yet heard back. I’ll let you know if I do.
* Also, on a related note, congrats to Mahoney on being named to Crain’s 40 Under 40…
“There’s always a middle ground,” says Michael Mahoney. The trick, especially at a time of unprecedented polarization at every level of American government, is to find that middle ground and get something done, to be “a problem solver,” as his boss describes him.
Mahoney is widely considered in Springfield to be just that, someone who certainly is loyal to his boss, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, but also someone who knows how to digest and frame complex issues in such a way as to highlight the advantages to all sides of resolving those issues instead of just fighting. […]
Included along the way was a stint as policy adviser for pension and revenue to ex-Gov. Bruce Rauner, who was little inclined to find common ground with Democrats on much of anything. Rauner “knew what he wanted to do, but he had no idea how to do it,” says Mahoney. “You have to put time into being a politician. It’s not easy.”
That last line says it all.
…Adding… Text from Rep. McCombie…
HRO encompasses a lot of parts as you know… 2018 was an overall restructure year…. and our executive director change was not in place til end April/May… the bench needs a few on the seat to get started… as you know petitions start in the fall. Jayme Odom did a fantastic job with the lack of bench warmers and time she had to vet candidates. Some of which were soundly elected!