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*** UPDATED x1 *** Republican Day roundup: Corruption, abortion, Trump and Bailey

Friday, Aug 18, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Tina Sfondeles for the Sun-Times

At the official rally on the Director’s Lawn, Illinois House Republican Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, addressed Pritzker’s remarks a day earlier accusing Republicans of persuading GOP voters to “believe their lies.”

“The problem is that here in Illinois, we have a low tolerance for bull—-,” Pritzker said on Wednesday.

“Democrats’ tolerance for bull—— might be low, but their tolerance for corruption is apparently sky high,” McCombie said Thursday to cheers from fellow Republicans. “They’re huddled up right now on yet another trial brought on by bribery, lying and self-interest.” […]

Illinois Senate Minority Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said most voters “don’t want the extreme, expensive, unsafe policies being shoved down their throats by the Democratic majorities in this state.”

* Capitol News Illinois

Illinois’ National GOP Committeewoman Demetra DeMonte, meanwhile, strategized on how to deal with the issue of abortion.

“Abortion is a topic that kind of sounds tough to talk about,” she said. “And that’s pretty much what our candidates did in 2022.”

While the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade put the decision on abortion rights back to the states, DeMonte said, Republicans should push back against claims that it did more than that. And they should pressure Democrats to define the acceptable limits for abortion, she said.

“The Democrats won by spewing lies in 2022,” she said. “Make no mistake, abortion will be their number one on their playbook in ‘24. Why change a winning strategy? We are the ones that must change – we Republicans must put Democrats on the defensive on abortion.”

* Rick Pearson

Party leaders also acknowledged that abortion rights, which motivated Democratic voters — particularly women in the once GOP-rich suburbs — and led to election successes last year, will remain a critical 2024 election-year issue that they will have to try to counter.

“Why change a winning strategy?” Demetra DeMonte, the state’s Republican national committeewoman, said of Democrats during a breakfast meeting of GOP leaders. “We are the ones that must change. We Republicans must put Democrats on the defensive on abortion.”

Noting an “unending drumbeat” of Democratic ads on abortion rights last year, DeMonte and other Republicans said the GOP must work to label Democrats as extreme on the issue.

* Craig Wall

Republicans held their annual breakfast meeting Thursday, where navigating the abortion issue was another touchy topic.

“In Illinois, we’re not talking about life or choice. We’re talking about extremes,” McCombie said. “We’re talking about late term abortions. We’re talking about repealing parental notification. We’re talking about taxpayer funding. We’re not talking about choice or life in Illinois.

*** UPDATE *** Personal PAC CEO Sarah Garza Resnick responds to Leader McCombie…

At Personal PAC, we’ve been crystal clear: abortion rights. No exceptions. Leader McCombie’s rhetoric crosses a dangerous line, indeed calling reproductive choice back into question. This moment calls for the principled expansion of abortion access and improvement of equity across the state. As a non-partisan advocacy organization, we would welcome the partnership and support of any General Assembly member or candidate in this fight.

* The Pantagraph

Still, even if Illinois Republican leaders wanted to redirect the conversation away from the former president and his legal troubles, there were signs of his continued hold over his party, including Trump campaign signs.

It is a reminder of the conundrum facing state Republicans as the former president is politically toxic, with moderate suburban voters needed to win general elections, but remains a favorite of the party’s downstate base.

This was clear in the Republican primary race for the 12th Congressional District, which features incumbent Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, and former GOP gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey. Both have endorsed Trump.

“It’s bogus, it’s a complete witch hunt,” Bailey told reporters at the fairgrounds on Thursday. “What’s going on should be illegal. We need more attorney generals across the United States actually filing indictments against Joe Biden and many of the other people in office.”

* State Journal-Register

Bailey concluded his term in the state Senate in January after a failed gubernatorial attempt in 2022. He never ruled out a return to politics in the months following and announced his run for the Illinois 12th Congressional District in July.

There, he will face off against U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, a five-term congressman representing 34 counties in southern Illinois. Bost was not in attendance for GOP Day, but was joined by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for an O’Fallon campaign event that afternoon.

Bailey characterized the Bost-McCarthy event as a “sign of desperation,” from his primary opponent and attempted to link him as a Washington insider.

“Mike Bost has been very loyal to DC and I expect DC to be very loyal to Mike Bost,” Bailey contended. “When I get elected, my loyalty is going to go to the people in the 12th congressional district.”

* More…

    * WAND | Illinois Republicans bash Pritzker, push for conservative family values in state politics: House Republican Leader Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) said she’s optimistic for a productive session when she was sworn in for the 103rd General Assembly in January. While McCombie’s team consistently asked for meetings with Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, she said Welch was not honest or transparent with the House Republican Caucus. McCombie said the spring session was chaos and Welch showed he is the “master of mismanagement.”

    * WGN | ‘Let’s talk about Illinois’: GOP leaders turn focus away from Trump at State Fair: There was visible support for the former president at a picnic on Thursday despite the allegations that he orchestrated a conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. “I believe an indictment does not prove that you’re guilty,” Republican voter Paul Hofmann said. “I would like to see a change in venue. All of this is politics and politics can be a very brutal sport.”

    * Sun-Times | Copi dokey? Illinoisans getting hooked on renamed invasive carp delicacies at State Fair: “We have been very busy,” said Darla Drainer, co-owner of the Grafton-based shack, which was contracted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to serve up copi. “People have been seeing the signs all over the place. People just absolutely have loved it. Every time I ask: ‘Thumbs up. Very good.’”

       

42 Comments
  1. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:21 am:

    “We are the ones that must change.”

    Ms. DeMonte is 100% correct but not in the way she suggests. Changing the narrative on abortion will not lead to Republican success. Selecting better candidates will.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:23 am:

    ===“In Illinois, we’re not talking about life or choice. We’re talking about extremes,” McCombie said. “We’re talking about late term abortions. We’re talking about repealing parental notification. We’re talking about taxpayer funding. We’re not talking about choice or life in Illinois.===

    When you vote against pro-choice, you are not pro-choice.

    Admitting out loud that Republicans want to limit or choose the choices of women..

    Please, Leader… please… tell women what is “acceptable” to women.

    Say it a lot. Really sell it.

    ===Democrats as extreme on the issue===

    “You having a choice for your body is too extreme for Illinois Republicans”

    Please, say this often. All the time.

    How many Republicans voted for women’s health rights this last session?

    These folks learned ZERO, and they think these answers will resonate? I hope they continue talking exactly like this. Welch will get closer to 84 by the day, lol


  3. - Al - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:24 am:

    Do Congressman Bost and former Senator Bailey have major policy disagreements? Or is Senator Bailey on an ego trip? From my armchair they appear interchangeable.


  4. - Pundent - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:25 am:

    = Democrats’ tolerance for bull—— might be low, but their tolerance for corruption is apparently sky high,” McCombie said Thursday to cheers from fellow Republicans.=

    Illinois Dems seem perfectly content with their former leader going to prison. The GOP on the other hand continues to show undying loyalty to a former leader facing 91 felony counts. And some wonder why they are increasingly irrelevant in this state. This irony can’t be lost on leader McCombie.


  5. - Roadrager - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:28 am:

    ==“Why change a winning strategy?” Demetra DeMonte, the state’s Republican national committeewoman, said of Democrats during a breakfast meeting of GOP leaders. “We are the ones that must change. We Republicans must put Democrats on the defensive on abortion.”==

    Perhaps she can consult with Dick Uihlein, Dan Proft, and Brian Timpone, fresh off their resounding victory in Ohio in a campaign that put Democrats on the defensive on abortion.


  6. - The Truth - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:28 am:

    “It’s bogus, it’s a complete witch hunt,” Bailey told reporters at the fairgrounds on Thursday. “What’s going on should be illegal. We need more attorney generals across the United States actually filing indictments against Joe Biden and many of the other people in office.”

    I just don’t see how anyone can expect to win a general election who clearly doesn’t recognize reality or how the legal system works.

    And in today’s GOP climate, I just don’t see how anyone can expect to win a primary election who clearly does recognize reality or how the legal system works.


  7. - Jerry - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:30 am:

    Its not only women who would like the freedom (and privacy) to make their own healthcare choices. Its everyone. “conservatives” talk a good game about getting the guv’mint out your life but in practice….well not so much.

    Pro-life = Big Government Nanny State


  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:32 am:

    ===“Democrats’ tolerance for bull—— might be low, but…===

    If you keep in mind “whataboutism” begins with admitting the fault, it’s heartening that the Leader readily admits Republicans speak “that”

    This type of… whatabouting… is adorable because it’s wholly admitting your entire platform and thoughts are… “that”

    Plus, it’s not like “CFR” wasn’t a whole RICO thing, which then begat Rod, and once the GOP got the mansion back… Rauner signed only one budget in 4 years.

    My thought?

    It’s not that voters don’t trust, or even trust more, Democrats…

    … it’s that voters believe Republicans are dangerous to women’s health, to families with assault weapons, and Republicans are not embracing diversity.

    These folks are clueless to what’s at play, even while owning in a whatabout.


  9. - vern - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:33 am:

    === Illinois Senate Minority Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said most voters “don’t want the extreme, expensive, unsafe policies being shoved down their throats by the Democratic majorities in this state.” ===

    I know democracy is confusing for Republicans, but those majorities exist because most voters wanted it. That’s kinda the only way to win a legislative majority. Republicans should try it some time.

    As for the corruption stuff, +1 to Pundent. That message will be quite the tough sell when their presidential nominee is Indictments McGee.


  10. - Jerry - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:33 am:

    To Leader McCombie…

    Isn’t there currently taxpayer funding of erectile dysfunction meds?

    Isn’t that a big cause of pregnancy?


  11. - Arsenal - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:43 am:

    ==but their tolerance for corruption is apparently sky high==

    Imagine saying this at the same event wherein LaHood whines about the Trump indictments.


  12. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:47 am:

    “we Republicans must put Democrats on the defensive on abortion.”

    Sure, that sounds like a great idea. Keep bringing that up. Every time you speak. Make sure to focus on the minutiae of exactly how specifically you want to control women.

    What was the number of total house reps Welch wanted to see after the next election again? 84? The Republican party is going to help him get 86 at this point.


  13. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:50 am:

    Darren Bailey is not a visionary but a grievance candidate. Bailey plays the role of victim and capitalizes on one issue. Bailey lacks the ability to view society as comprised of many elements.

    Bailey never discusses the environment, sustainability, roads and transportation, employment, and quality of life issues for his former constituents. Had he continued as State Senator, Bailey could prove to his constituents that he had plans to improve their lives rather than promote himself.

    Bailey left the State Senate to run for governor. Did it ever occur to Bailey that he was totally unqualified to be the governor of Illinois?
    Bailey’s performance during the debate was painful to watch.

    Stammering and fidgeting with outbursts during the debate, Bailey showed that he lacks the temperament and executive skills to lead a state as governor.

    Currently, Bailey plans a run for Congress. Bailey is a one-issue candidate. For the benefit of Southern Illinois, Bailey should stay on his porch and wallow in his grievances.


  14. - Norseman - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:50 am:

    OW and Pundent +1


  15. - Big Dipper - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:53 am:

    == “We need more attorney generals across the United States actually filing indictments against Joe Biden and many of the other people in office.”==

    Gee, that sounds like a witch hunt.


  16. - JoanP - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 9:56 am:

    It’s almost as though the Illinois GOP wants to remain the minority party.


  17. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:00 am:

    ===Gee, that sounds like a witch hunt.===

    A grammatically incorrect one at that.


  18. - DHS Drone - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:00 am:

    The IL GOP’s real problem is that most people simply do not trust that they would just stop at parental notification repeal, a late term ban, and an end to taxpayer funding, if they regained control of state government.


  19. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:00 am:

    ==said most voters “don’t want==

    The election results would seem to indicate that most voters disagree with your assessment.


  20. - Roman - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:03 am:

    There’s no denying the challenges faced by the ILGOP.

    1) Trump is an albatross. 2) There’s no benefit to having any focus on abortion as an issue — even talking about their marginally more popular positions on parental notification or public financing doesn’t help. 3) They just spent a whole bunch of money and focus on crime as an issue in the last election (and got a ton of help from the Chicago media,) but it didn’t move the needle at the ballot box. 4) The attempt to build from the ground up around “parental rights” in school board elections mostly failed. 5) Dem corruption is a reliable go-to line of attack. (McCombie’s retort to JB’s “bull——“ comment was her best shot yesterday.) But Madigan is out of power and there hasn’t been a whiff of corruption around the Pritzker administration — and after all, JB *is* the Democratic Party of Illinois to most voters. (“Governor’s own.”) They just don’t see him as corrupt.

    I’m really not sure where the ILGOP goes from here. John Curran’s suburban moderate feel is probably a good place to start — though the risk of his caucus pulling him too far right can quickly ruin that vibe.

    Not sure anything will work as long as Trump is around.


  21. - Arsenal - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:12 am:

    ==There’s no benefit to having any focus on abortion as an issue — even talking about their marginally more popular positions on parental notification or public financing doesn’t help.==

    That’s because the electorate is hearing any restriction on abortion rights as “ABORTION BANS” right now, and they don’t want any of those.

    ==They just don’t see him as corrupt.==

    I don’t know that the voters see him as particularly squeaky clean, either, though. The bigger deal is that when Trump is by far the most famous member of the Republican Party, it’s hard to seriously say that Democrats are unusually tolerant of corruption.


  22. - Jocko - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:12 am:

    Do they not realize that ‘anti-choice’ is a loser in every state where it comes up?

    I just read the other day about a Mississippi sixth grader having to bring a rapist’s baby to term because the parents didn’t have the resources to make the nine hour trip to Illinois.


  23. - Steve - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:23 am:

    -Please, Leader… please… tell women what is “acceptable” to women.-

    Other progressive states have enshrined in their state constitutions the right to abortion. I expect the majority Democrats to get a resolution to the voters in the coming election cycle.


  24. - Pundent - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:23 am:

    =I’m really not sure where the ILGOP goes from here.=

    Other states have done it. It’s difficult but not impossible. But as JoanP observed, if you can’t establish any daylight between what constitutes the base of the party, you are, at this present time, resolved to being the minority party in Illinois. Denying the obvious won’t change anything.


  25. - King Louis XVI - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:27 am:

    –“It’s bogus, it’s a complete witch hunt,” Bailey told reporters at the fairgrounds on Thursday. “What’s going on should be illegal. We need more attorney generals across the United States actually filing indictments against Joe Biden …” –

    Irony alert.


  26. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:31 am:

    - “We’re talking about late term abortions. We’re talking about repealing parental notification. -

    Apparently you don’t understand the meaning of the word change. Unless you declare your support for a woman’s choice, you aren’t changing anything and you’ll continue to lose.


  27. - Pundent - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:35 am:

    =it’s hard to seriously say that Democrats are unusually tolerant of corruption.=

    Both parties have demonstrated a fair share of tolerance for corruption. Where they diverge, at this particular point it time, is how they view accountability. I don’t see Democrats attacking attorney generals, the justice department, and grand juries. When it comes to accountability they seem content with having the rule of law and justice system sort things out. And unless you’re a hard core partisan that seems to be where most voters are.


  28. - H-W - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:46 am:

    === we Republicans must put Democrats on the defensive on abortion ===

    You did. But you fail to recognize that doing was a significant losing strategy for your party. Doubling-down would just be foolishness.


  29. - OneMan - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:48 am:

    == Noting an “unending drumbeat” of Democratic ads on abortion rights last year, DeMonte and other Republicans said the GOP must work to label Democrats as extreme on the issue. ==

    Unless the Republican party comes out explicitly and supports choice up to 12 weeks or something, they have 0% chance of not being seen as the extremists on this. Even then, it would be a tough sell, but as an election strategy, it would be much more effective than portraying choice as the extreme. The ‘grey areas’ have support, a complete ban isn’t going to get you any more votes and is just going to turn off more voters.

    This is the thing they don’t get, with Roe people thought the complete ban folks were just talking to the wind, and even though the courts had eroded things over the years, the extreme was seen as just that. Now it is in play, and for most voters, it is too extreme, and convincing them that it isn’t is going to be impossible.

    Once it came into play, folks had to start taking your talk on the subject into consideration and they don’t like it. It isn’t that hard, having the courage to change the position is something that isn’t going to work.


  30. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:51 am:

    Forgot to ask if “Bob Hopeless” MC’d the rally again this year, or did someone else have the honor.


  31. - H-W - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 10:55 am:

    === “It’s bogus, it’s a complete witch hunt,” Bailey told reporters ===

    I thought Mr. Bailey ran a school premised on the teachings of Jesus. I do not recall reading anything in the New Testament that would justify supporting Mr. Trump. Indeed, that book is pretty darned clear about confronting liars. Matthew 18:15-16 doesn’t equivocate.

    If Mr. Bailey is suggesting there exists a higher moral rationale for lying, and for tolerating liars, I do not find such rationale in his book of moral principles.


  32. - H-W - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 11:11 am:

    @Roman wrote === McCombie’s retort to JB’s “bull——“ comment was her best shot yesterday. ===

    I agree with that assessment. I thought that one line was actually quite poignant as a political zinger. While it may not play well in the long run, it is a pretty smart counter to the BS zinger.

    Now you just need a winning platform. You cannot convert moderates without a platform that appeals to moderates. You already have the radical right, the Tea Party and the Trump people. Build from there.

    Note: I am a democratic voter and am only playing what the leaders’ of the IL-GOP might call a “devil’s advocate.” But if you want to win, you must play to win. Keeping your base is not a way to enhance your market share.


  33. - Appears - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 11:42 am:

    Today’s Republican Party is a group of old men that believe they still have the right to tell women how to live because…they are men and men were created superior.


  34. - Pundent - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 11:56 am:

    =You already have the radical right, the Tea Party and the Trump people. =

    That’s what Richard Irvin thought as well. And he got thumped.


  35. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 11:59 am:

    “but their tolerance for corruption is apparently sky high”

    Did the minority leader laugh privately at the utter hypocrisy and inaccuracy of this statement? Democrats got rid of Blago and Madigan and don’t show blind loyalty like Republicans do for DT.

    “Why change a winning strategy?”

    Lol, did Republicans see how anti-abortion performed at the ballot box, even in red states? Did they see how they did in Illinois even before Roe was overturned? Please proceed.


  36. - Frida's boss - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 12:09 pm:

    The Supreme Court decision on Roe is a political gift for Illinois Dems that keeps giving and the IL GOP doesn’t understand that the fight is over here in Illinois. Anything they say or do that isn’t a comment to the effect of -it’s a woman’s right to choose, is damaging to them.

    The suburban block of voting they want back is taken over by moms on a mission. They believe in Choice, ban on assault weapons, and teaching actual factual education, it’s a weird concept, I know. Those moms that always controlled the PTA, the local concerts in the park, the yearly neighborhood fests, are now in the GA and they’re angry. Until the GOP can find their neighborhood activists for local communities and continue to only focus on national policy stuff they will lose more seats.


  37. - Huh? - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 12:20 pm:

    ” I do not find such rationale in his book of moral principles.”

    You didn’t double speak, rationalize, bend, fold, spindle, or mutilate your thought process enough. /s


  38. - JS Mill - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 12:35 pm:

    =“When I get elected, my loyalty is going to go to the people in the 12th congressional district.”=

    Says the guy bowing down before the trump altar.

    The whole thing is insane. The ILGOP cannot possibly be so obtuse that they do not see how their platform is a massive loser? Can they? Or are they so arrogant that they think the rest of us will bend to their will?

    They are now a rural and down state only party. And those populations are not growing.


  39. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 1:02 pm:

    === McCombie’s retort to JB’s “bull——“ comment was her best shot yesterday. ===

    ===I agree with that assessment. I thought that one line was actually quite poignant as a political zinger.===

    If that is their best, they are in big trouble. Madigan etc are not being defended by any Dems while the Republicans spend a lot of time and verbage supporting Trump.


  40. - Cosgrove - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 3:30 pm:

    Keep it up Leader McCombie & Curran. We’ll be thrilled to quote you in campaign mailings, tv ads and in other election communication in 2024 on behalf of pro-choice candidates. Why not just have your caucus file some more bills in the ILGA to outlaw abortion? Moderate voters love that too!


  41. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 3:33 pm:

    Does Darren Bailey have a split personality? On one hand, he mixes scripture with his grievance of the day. Then Bailey transforms into the number one fanboy of former President Trump.

    Bailey uses “witch hunt “ which is right out of his Trump playbook. Bailey’s attempts to align with the multi-indicted Trump reek of desperation.

    Bailey’s feigned outrage is another tactic to draw attention to his campaign. Might be time to sit on the porch, Darren.


  42. - Frida's boss - Friday, Aug 18, 23 @ 3:58 pm:

    Where are the Tom Cross and Rosemary Mulligan types who were pro-choice Republicans? They both were capable;e and handled issues well. They are a far better cry than the Freedom Caucus folks who have pounded messages so hard it has resonated L’s in the suburbs. Which until about 12 years ago was their stronghold.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Despite reported shortage, state claims city has not requested diapers for migrant babies since October
* IVF debate takes a weird political turn
* ComEd Four sentencing will be delayed
* It’s just a bill
* Open thread
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

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