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The return of the circular firing squad

Friday, Nov 6, 2020

* 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!

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:00 am:

    Candidates often run for office just to make a point. Maybe she is doing the same thing. She’s risking alienating members of her caucus, but if she really wants to make a point, it can’t hurt too much to have a private conversation.

    She does make a point that post-Trump the party nationwide and in Illinois needs to build more support.

  2. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:03 am:

    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.”

    The moment I met Bruce Rauner, that was my take. The guy doesn’t understand the process and will never try to understand the process.

  3. - Fav Human - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:04 am:

    One can make the case, that Durkin has been spectacularly ineffective.

    Not a good fund raiser. Didn’t feel the need to intervene in the Skillicorn fiasco.

    Based on solely results, he’s just not effective.

    As for her job in recruiting candidates, that is yet another indictment of Durkin.

    It’s his job to make sure the various members of the leadership team perform. If they aren’t and he does nothing, that is bad leadership.

    Just because she may not be the best to replace him doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t go.

  4. - yeah - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:17 am:

    ==One can make the case, that Durkin has been spectacularly ineffective.==


    Durkin picked up two (probably) net seats when Republicans were expected to lose around five. And he did it while being outspent 4 to 1 (at least) by the House Democrats.

    ==Not a good fund raiser.==

    On her most recent quarterly report, McCombie reports raising $110k. During the same period Durkin raised $856k. If he’s a bad fundraiser, what does that make her?

  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:20 am:

    To the post,

    Coups rarely end well when coups fail.

    My congratulations to Leader Durkin, I’m looking forward to his leadership well outside the “fire Madigan” nonsense going forward and the building to a majority caucus, a diverse caucus, a caucus that is united and found in all of Illinois, well beyond regions, but a caucus found in every region.

    As the coup conspirators want discussions, here’s a great way to stop the circular firing squad.

    Reset, Regroup, Recruit.

    Durkin had some things spot on right. He can go back to old donors, before Rauner in before times of cheered pain for a failed agenda and say, “my vision is to create and move an agenda forward and look at governing as good, abd find common ground to build.” What is exciting, to me, is that there a want to build, to look back, but by looking back it’s moving forward and moving on. It’s Durkin remembering abd reminding of the times of Murphy and Beaubien, of Petersen and Mulligan. The coup conspirators see none of that, it appears, the discussion is where Durkin has it, there’s no discussion where they need to go.

    The regroup is quite clear. The circular firing squad needs to get on board with 60, 30, mansion. This idea of a 51 state, of angry, regional, monolithic thinking, it’s time to regroup and focus back where ground was lost, and where a fresh message and a welcoming of bigger ideas will grow. The growth of a party and a caucus needs to be about regrouping in a way that a bigger tent, while still 80% in concert is needed, and the fracture, a circular firing squad, that’s not gonna cut it, a coup, a failed coup is everything against the regroup.

    Ok, there’s a reset, everyone wants to regroup, got the funding and support from the past folks coming back, it’s time to recruit. Top to bottom, crew, staff, candidates, local folk, it’s time to give the Republicans sitting on the sidelines because of and after Rauner the reasons to help Durkin be effective. Get good candidates, candidates that mirror districts, newly drawn districts too, staff and crew focused to win, the financial support, and the local infrastructure to win, to believe everyone is pulling together, same side of the rope, willing to do the work.

    This failed coup is everything against these important things; reset, regroup, recruit.

    It’s now time to show that the circular firing squad, exposing it, as wholly unhelpful to 60, also to 60, 30, mansion.

    The politics to win, it’s time to move forward, Durkin know this, and I’m not typing anything that reasonable folks who want to move forward don’t already know.

    My hope is Durkin continues to work to move forward, I’m looking forward to watch and hopefully root fir this new beginning.

    The first step is nipping a coup in the bud, and pushing forward with a unity to task.

  6. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    Probably should force them to both address their Eastern Bloc problem and the very prominent effort of their members to cause their constituents to die unnecessarily during a deadly pandemic in public, but I always enjoy reading a press statement that is disconnected from reality.

  7. - dirksen - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:23 am:

    on the theme of “says it all” i think this fits into that category: When the Chair of HRO spends the 48 hours prior to election day lining up votes for a leadership run instead of helping candidates get across the finish line.

  8. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:32 am:

    “You have to put tine into being a politician”

    But, but, but, career politicians are everything wrong with this state/country.

  9. - Go Big - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:36 am:

    McCombie throwing in with the Eastern Bloc in an attempted coup underscores an interesting reality . . . . .the lack of intellectual capacity of that group includes being challenged by basic arithmetic.

  10. - Hamlet's Ghost - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    @Oswego Willy

    ==Get good candidates, candidates that mirror districts, newly drawn districts too, staff and crew focused to win, the financial support, and the local infrastructure to win, to believe everyone is pulling together, same side of the rope, willing to do the work.==

    Well yes *IF* the IL GOP can offer a unifying vision of government other than:

    1. Fire Madigan (and anyone Madigan ever worked with)
    2. Make IL “right to work” and/or
    3. Repeal prevailing wage
    4. Pursue herd immunity as a legitimate response to COVID

  11. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:47 am:

    - Hamlet’s Ghost -

    As you say too… it’s up to *them*

    No one, not one person is looking to me, my 100% free thoughts are my own, if they take them, let alone read them, is their choice.


  12. - Hard D - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 10:47 am:

    McCombie is very intelligent extremely bright she can fix all the problems facing the state maybe even the country Just Ask Her. However her mathematics isn’t the best.

  13. - Leigh John-Ella - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 11:03 am:

    That McCombie text is so bureaucratic and “not my fault” excuse-driven that, for a moment, I thought she was a Pat Quinn agency director.

  14. - Louis G Atsaves - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 11:14 am:

    With all due respect to McCombie, here’s hoping that the GOP caucus unanimously elects Durkin to another term as its leader.

  15. - Drake Mallard - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 11:16 am:

    any traction they generate will be blown out of the water in 18 months by Ms. Ives

  16. - Anon - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 11:19 am:

    The only thing right in McCombie’s text was that Jayme Odom did a fantastic job with what she had to work with. Kudos to her.

  17. - dr - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 11:23 am:

    The great uniter of this state and country will be the one who can bring the urban, suburban, and rural together.

  18. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 12:19 pm:

    ==The great uniter of this state and country will be the one who can bring the urban, suburban, and rural together.==

    Don’t look for that to happen any time soon. A “uniter” these days can only be expected to unite two of those, while being forced to drag the other along kicking and screaming

  19. - The Old Man - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    When the H GOP ousted Joe Woodward, they lost the person with the know how to recruit good candidates and win elections. Blamed him for 2018 when Rauner took the GOP down to defeat. Look at how good he is, check out toe Overstreet win in the Supreme Court race, 26 per cent when he was under funded and out spent. Wake up house republicans, get a winning team.

  20. - Frank talks - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    How can you lead a caucus when you sponsor a bill to remove a portion of the State? Sounds like the exact opposite definition of a unifier? But maybe thats the change the House GOP wants?

  21. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    The circle is shrinking…call for a recount?

  22. - Chicagonk - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 1:14 pm:

    People aren’t going to step up to run unless the party does a better job fundraising.

  23. - park - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 4:28 pm:

    fine with me. Competition is good, always creates benefits.

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