GOP Questions McKenna’s Use of Party Funds for His Own Polling

-By Warner Todd Huston

I meant to mention this story yesterday and didn’t get to it. I guess the reason why I wasn’t so all fired up to highlight it is that it all seemed as no surprise, it seemed like ho-hum news.

Don’t get me wrong, certainly it is big news that Gubernatorial candidate Andy McKenna is being investigated by the State Party over possible misuse of party money to fund his own first poll to ascertain whether or not his run for Gov. would be viable. No question that this is interesting news on several levels.

It is interesting, for instance, that the state GOP would even bother to investigate their fair hared boy in the first place, so, yes, that is interesting right there.

But it isn’t startling that Andy McKenna might be suspected of doing something underhanded. Here’s what happened:

Back in the summer when McKenna was still the Illinois Republican Party Chairman the party funded a $28,000 poll to flesh out the standing of the various folks on the Republican side that were close to announcing or had announced their intent to run for the party’s nomination for governor.

Mysteriously McKenna’s name ended up on that poll — even as no one had any idea that he was in the hunt for Governor. Why is that a big deal? Well, the problem is that anyone that takes on the party chairmanship in Illinois pledges not to run himself for office during his stint as chairman. Yet, while he was chairman, here his name ended up on a poll for governor, one funded by the party he pledged to work for.

Naturally his insider pals are claiming he didn’t know they were going to include his name in the poll. Yeah, riiiiiight.

Then, right after this poll came out during the summer, suddenly and without much wide-spread knowledge among the party faithful, McKenna quit his chairmanship and announced his run for governor.

Now, remember, this is the same Andy McKenna whose father is well connected to the Party establishment and who himself was party chairman for nearly five years. Yeah, THAT Andy McKenna, as insidery as an insider can get. Yet this man has the temerity to run millions of dollars worth of TV and radio ads calling himself an “outsider businessman.” Seriously. This guy was as inside as you get, yet is calling himself an “outsider” in his ads?

Fostering a blatant lie is not a good way to start out a campaign, is it?

McKenna is not super well known by the average Joe-voter of Illinois but he is thoroughly connected with the insider powerbrokers of both the Democratic and Republican Party. Unfortunately, I’ve already heard a few voters (this is strictly anecdotal) that have said they “like” McKenna based only on his ads. Reason given: they want an outsider, too. They are tired of the insider politics of the GOP, too. So, to the uninformed, McKenna’s lies are enough to make them at least look at his candidacy.

But what happens when they discover that he’s a liar once the media starts focusing on the fact that he is, indeed, a complete insider and not the outsider he claims to be? Well, that will just add to the cynicism with which voters view both politics in general, but more specifically — and more damagingly — the Illinois GOP itself.

When these folks yearning for a real outsider find out that at first they were fooled by McKenna’s ads there will be nothing but disgust toward the GOP left in them. This disgust will not be cast at just McKenna, but will be thrown widely at “them,” meaning us, the GOP as a whole.

If the Illinois GOP knows what’s good for it, the party will find a way to get rid of Andy McKenna. He is no good for this party. Buy him off, give him a gold watch and a Jaguar, name a school or a Post Office after him… anything. Just get rid of Andy McKenna!
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,,,,,, Human Events Magazine,, and the New Media Journal, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for

He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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