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Tony McCombie news coverage roundup

Monday, Nov 28, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* The Tribune

Representing a largely rural district outside the Quad Cities in northwestern Illinois, she will be the first woman to lead a House caucus for either party, a distinction she downplayed a day after the vote. McCombie told a throng of reporters in her new statehouse office that “women get things done” but said she doesn’t want to be defined by her gender.

“You shouldn’t be chosen because you’re a woman,” she said. “You should be chosen because you’re the right person.”

Welch, the state’s first Black House speaker, congratulated her “as a fellow history maker” and said he hopes her selection signals a fresh start for Democrats and Republicans in the chamber to work together.

“Obviously, we have some sincere disagreements, but I also respect Leader McCombie’s commitment to those who have elected her to serve,” Welch said in a statement.

Welch’s words belie the reality that Democrats don’t need much help from McCombie’s side of the aisle to get anything done. She’s taking over a caucus badly battered in the recent election, when House Democrats increased an already sizable 73-45 supermajority to a 78-40 edge.

* WGEM

McCombie has served in the house since 2017 and led the House Republican campaign organization during the 2020 election cycle.

The Savanna Republican worked with Democrats in the past on plans to improve the state’s finances and address safety concerns within the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

McCombie still hopes to see a proposal pass to charge people over 21 with an aggravated battery if they attack DCFS employees. The legislation honors the legacy of DCFS caseworkers Deidre Silas and Pam Knight who were murdered while conducting home visits over recent years.

“As Leader, I might actually get that bill passed now. We’ve been fighting for Pam Knight for a long time,” McCombie said Wednesday. “We’ve done it in the House and then it dies in the Senate. With the tragic loss that we had here in Springfield, we thought we were going to get that through with the Senate and the House again and we did not.”

* Greg Hinz

Essentially, she faces the same question Republicans do nationally: How to make the GOP competitive again in increasingly blue suburbs, be they Wheaton; Mesa, Ariz.; Philadelphia’s Main Line towns; or Orange County, Calif. The problem is particularly acute here, as McCombie takes over leadership of a caucus that lost five of its 45 seats on Nov. 8 and now is a super-superminority whose very relevance is in question in a body with at least 78 Democrats.

So what does McCombie bring to the table?

The woman from Savanna in northwestern Illinois is, with no offense to outgoing state GOP leader Jim Durkin, something new for a party that clearly needs change. She’s the first woman ever to head a House caucus, and that can’t hurt. Equally important, she’s not from the Chicago suburbs like almost all GOP leaders for the past half-century have been. She’s from downstate, potentially enhancing her ability to explain to rural voters that now compromise the Illinois GOP’s backbone exactly why they need to give suburban Republicans the ability to follow the first rule of politics: Represent your district, not an ideology.

That’s task one: improving internal communication within the caucus. Or as McCombie put it in an interview, “What we need to do is explain the benefits of someone who will vote with you 90% of the time as opposed to a Democrat who will vote your way 0% of the time.” In that vein, there will be no caucus rule requiring members to vote a certain way, McCombie said.

Task two: developing a small-donor contributions base that’s not dependent on the whims of some deep-pocketed official, like Bruce Rauner, or wealthy business type, as in Ken Griffin or Dick Uihlein. McCombie doesn’t mention any of them, but putting together a small version of what Democrats have done nationally with ActBlue would be enormously helpful.

* Shaw Local

“It is extremely unhealthy for us to have this big of a spread between Republicans and Democrats. It’s not good for Democrats and it’s not good for Republicans,” McCombie said.[…]

“Obviously our issues polled very well this election cycle,” McCombie said. “The kitchen table issues everybody talks about inflation, cost, crime. Although, crime didn’t — if you hadn’t been affected by crime it didn’t poll, as well.”

McCombie criticized national media outlets for Illinois voters not trusting Republican Party candidates.

“The media has a big place in that across the nation more so outside. Not necessarily our local newspapers. But, when you are looking especially at the federal side, a large percent of media stories were left-leaning,” McCombie said. “There is a lot of divide between parties and we do have a Democratic president, so often you protect the president that is in place. I think with the extreme messages that have been pushed through media, through social media — I think that’s what scares especially single women. I think that’s what scares them.”

McCombie, who has opposed the implementation of the SAFE-T Act, which will eliminate cash bail from the state’s criminal justice system on Jan. 1, wants to repeal it.

* Peter Hancock

Known for being more conservative than Durkin, McCombie said she will seek to moderate policies in the state that she says have been driven by the left wing of the Democratic Party.

“In Illinois, it’s not about being pro-life or pro-gun,” she said. “In Illinois, we continue to push the extremes. And maybe that message wasn’t apparent.

“But there would be, in my opinion, no pro-choice Republicans that would vote to repeal parental notification, that would allow abortions up to nine months,” she said. “So I think that’s what we need to talk about in Illinois is the extremes.”

Among her first tasks as leader will be naming the rest of a leadership team. In addition to Durkin stepping down, much of the rest of the House GOP leadership team will be leaving public office at the end of this session.

       

21 Comments
  1. - Sue - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 10:23 am:

    And it matters how in a State with Dem super majorities in both the House and Senate and a D on the second floor- she can advocate for policies to the cows come home


  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 10:25 am:

    ===Obviously our issues polled very well this election cycle,” McCombie said. “The kitchen table issues everybody talks about inflation, cost, crime. Although, crime didn’t — if you hadn’t been affected by crime it didn’t poll, as well.”===

    Counting on (checks notes) “crime victims” as your constituency and hoping… (checks notes again) “crime victims” are a large base of voters… is a loser’s strategy.

    My goodness that’s an awful quote.


  3. - Publius - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 10:28 am:

    The issue is the ILGOP issues don’t poll well with a majority of the voters. Having lived both downstate and in the burbs it seems the ILGOP isn’t interested in figuring out how to do this. What works downstate doesn’t work well anywhere else. Even a voter in extreme So Ill thinks that Savanna which is north of I-80 is nothing like them.


  4. - Jibba - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 10:35 am:

    So Republican issues were popular and Illinois is too extreme despite being trounced by Dems. Sounds like she has learned nothing. Changing the messenger is useless.


  5. - Pundent - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 10:38 am:

    =“Obviously our issues polled very well this election cycle,” McCombie said. “The kitchen table issues everybody talks about inflation, cost, crime. Although, crime didn’t — if you hadn’t been affected by crime it didn’t poll, as well.”=

    What a bizarre statement given the results. And maybe the reason that crime doesn’t resonate is because most people aren’t affected by it. Although McCombie seems a bit disappointed by that. Perhaps a better take would be, “we tried to gin up fear over crime but the voters were more concerned about abortion rights.”

    But if McCombie believes that the ILGOP has the issues correct, how does she propose winning elections when the voters clearly disagree?


  6. - The Truth - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 10:38 am:

    ===rural voters that now **compromise** the Illinois GOP’s backbone===

    That’s one heck of a Freudian slip.


  7. - sulla - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 10:42 am:

    Unmarried women chose the opposite party by a 37-point margin, so your plan as house GOP leader is to make sure there are no pro-choice republicans in the caucus. What an absolutely brilliant strategy.

    In the 1970s, Mad Magazine came out with a monopoly-like boardgame where the object was to lose as much money as possible. I feel like the Illinois GOP is playing that same game, only with votes.


  8. - Sir Henry - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 10:44 am:

    The House GOP the caucus that always votes no. That is why they have not had a seat at the table.


  9. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 10:55 am:

    –explain the benefits of someone who will vote with you 90% of the time as opposed to a Democrat who will vote your way 0% of the time.–

    I can’t tell if she’s serious, or just saying what’s expected of her.

    No amount of ‘explaining’ something so basic is going to help the ILGOP. It’s not a lack of understanding how this works that is causing the problems. Hers seems to be a top-down approach, to an issue that is a bottom-up reality.

    –Represent your district, not an ideology.–

    Yes, that the party has left that behind is the problem. The ILGOP ideology is to believe and support whatever the party leader says is the ideology. Good luck to her in breaking that cycle, and it’s good she recognizes it as a problem, but she’d be the first in history to do so.

    I’ll wait until I see her actions as leader before I say for certain, but her words so far are not the words of someone who understands the dynamic of what is happening and has happened to the ILGOP.

    To me there’s a higher likelihood of the ILGOP further splitting itself into another caucus, than moving in the direction she is describing.


  10. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 11:08 am:

    Good luck to leader McCombie. Looking forward to seeing what the IL GOP house will do with a female leader, who is a past mayor, a business person who is not a lawyer from the suburbs. She will bring new energy to the ILGOP. I like her priorities - hopefully, also work with the IL GOP party on a get-the-vote out that includes encouraging base voters to mail in.


  11. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 11:21 am:

    ==would allow abortions up to nine months==

    Can we please stop with this sort of nonsense.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 11:24 am:

    ===“But there would be, in my opinion, no pro-choice Republicans that would vote to repeal parental notification, that would allow abortions up to nine months,” she said. “So I think that’s what we need to talk about in Illinois is the extremes.”===

    Tell me you don’t want honest discussions to a failure with pro-choice voters without saying you’re fine in failing pro-choice voters.

    This is a horrendous start. Congratulations.


  13. - Lake Villa Township PC - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 11:39 am:

    Acting as if crime isn’t an important issue to the people of Illinois is either boneheaded or disingenuous. It’s all about who voters trust to combat a specific issue.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    ===Acting as if crime isn’t an important issue to the people of Illinois is either boneheaded or disingenuous.===

    It was a losing issue.

    If you don’t mind losing elections, it’s a genius thing to say… you didn’t capture enough “voting crime victims”

    Otherwise, being clueless to why the GOP lost so badly but decrying that crime isn’t the issue that sunk them is not a bright observation to what *did* happen.


  15. - South side cubs fan - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    I saw her on TV the other day. I liked what she had to say, until she started talking about how Democrats want open borders and abortion at nine months. Then I knew she was full of crap. I don’t know a single democrat that wants either of those things.


  16. - Homebody - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 12:09 pm:

    == how Democrats want open borders and abortion at nine months. Then I knew she was full of crap. I don’t know a single democrat that wants either of those things. ==

    I mean, I kind of do.

    “Abortion at 9 months” is astronomically rare, but it absolutely should be available as a medical option when necessary. That decision would be tragic, but it is between the mother and her doctor.

    Similarly, it should absolutely be easier to immigrate to the US legally. Studies have suggested that net influx of immigration would be better for the US as a whole economically. Further, giving easier paths to legal status would remove (or at least significantly lessen) the ability of businesses to exploit an undocumented under class of labor, which currently exerts downward pressure on wages in certain labor-intensive fields.

    Except those both require acknowledging nuance and a more robust understanding and discussion of the issues, while the GOP (both ILGOP and nationally) would rather just scream made up absolutist talking points, and let voter fears fill in the rest.


  17. - Justy sayin' - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    Someone needs to tell Hinz that Savanna is not “downstate.”


  18. - Just sayin' - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    Someone needs to tell Hinz that Savanna is not “downstate.”


  19. - West Side the Best Side - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 12:28 pm:

    Just sayin’ - In Cook every part of Illinois that ain’t Cook or the collar counties is Downstate. And we’re not too sure about some of the collars at times.


  20. - Suburban Mom - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 2:02 pm:

    ===“The media has a big place in that across the nation more so outside. Not necessarily our local newspapers. But, when you are looking especially at the federal side, a large percent of media stories were left-leaning,” McCombie said. “There is a lot of divide between parties and we do have a Democratic president, so often you protect the president that is in place. I think with the extreme messages that have been pushed through media, through social media — I think that’s what scares especially single women. I think that’s what scares them.”===

    I love the tacit admission that the Rupert-Murdoch-Industrial-Complex doesn’t contain real news outlets.


  21. - Matty - Monday, Nov 28, 22 @ 3:46 pm:

    Seeing Savanna labeled as “downstate” genuinely compromises my opinion of Greg Hinz’s journalistic integrity.


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