When former state GOP leader Pat Brady said President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about women and minorities “hurts” Republicans, some guests at Monday’s City Club event booed. “Whether you like it or not,” Brady told the City Club crowd at Maggiano’s Banquets, “We have to come up with an Illinois strategy that bifurcates us away from the president’s message or we won’t be able to recruit people.”
Monday’s contentious scene is just another indication of how divided the Republican Party is after that blue-ish wave swept Illinois. The event was titled “Illinois GOP: Now What?”
At one point Brady also called out Dan Proft, who runs a right-wing PAC, for funneling $1.2 million to a primary candidate challenging Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin—who ultimately won. That kind of financial support could have benefited Erika Harold, Brady said of the GOP attorney general candidate who fell short. Brady wants financial support to carry candidates through the general election. But Proft, also a panelist, disagreed, saying, “Competition produces better goods and services. Primaries are for improving the quality of the caucus and generals are for growing the caucus.”
There was a glimmer of unity. Proft agreed with Brady on the need to do a better job recruiting young people, women and minorities. So now what?
* Daily Line…
Proft, who backed 22 far-right legislative candidates with money from his Liberty Principles PAC, only won a handful of those districts, where most of the candidates were also incumbents and relied more upon the party’s infrastructure than Proft money. Proft said Monday that he nearly stepped away from the election cycle back in August when he first saw polling evidence of a Blue Wave.
“I’ll tell you something i haven’t said publicly: I looked at these races…that my little group supported pre-Labor Day,” Proft said. “And the numbers I saw coming from suburban races — I had a conversation internally with our group: “should we sit this election out?” Because they were that bad.”
Proft didn’t end up pulling his support, but acknowledged he did not do particularly well on Election Day. However, Proft said he wasn’t about to change his methods. […]
“If these two sides can constantly focus on what the real opposition is, and that should be the Democrats — look at what they’ve done to the state, you don’t need me to go through all the numbers,” McQueary said. “That should be the focus of every conversation that these two gentlemen have and party should have going forward.”
* WLS AM…
State Republicans took a shellacking in the midterms. Former state chairman Pat Brady told the City Club it’s in part because they were out-organized by the Democrats on the fundamentals, like getting out the early vote.
“Listen, I’m not using this as an excuse at all, but they had $171 million to play with. They had gold-plated everything. It was something none of us has ever seen, but the reality is it’s what we have to face in 2020. That’s what we’re up against.”
The state GOP does have a billionaire – Governor Bruce Rauner – but whether he going to be willing to spend even more millions on organization after his loss remains to be seen.
I just don’t think that much of anything is going to change between now and 2020, when President Trump is likely to be on the ballot for reelection. The suburbs are gonna be brutal yet again for Republicans.
They should focus mostly on Downstate (where the President will help), while doing the best they can to defend suburban incumbents and make an effort at picking off some of the fluke Democratic winners. Start early, work hard and smart and hold Gov. Pritzker to his promise to veto a redistricting map that isn’t fairly drawn and then help make sure his veto isn’t overridden by Democratic super-majorities.
Also, find a way to get Dick Uihlein back on the same page. With Rauner and his checkbook making an exit, these primaries will only drain the resources necessary for the general election.