What Happened at the Illinois GOP Convention? Mostly Status Quo, But…

-By Warner Todd Huston

The Illinois Republican Party held its 2012 Party Convention this weekend. On the docket was addressing some asked for rules changes and picking a slate of delegates to the GOP national convention to nominate Mitt Romney to carry the Party’s banner in the upcoming presidential election. My ultimate analysis is that this was a status quo convention, but signs show that the status quo might not be too long for this world.

Two things first, here. One, I have to state up front that I intended to be a delegate from my district at the Illinois GOP convention. I registered as such and was accepted by my man Tim Schneider of the Hanover Republicans, but forces outside of politics (in other words, real life) prevented me from participating to the fullest extent. Regardless, I wanted to let you know of my intentions upfront so that you can see that I am not just a disinterested bystander in this deal.

Two, if you want a blow-by-blow account of the many great speeches, see Cal Skinner’s report at McHenry County Blog. I will mention a few things, but won’t do the speech-by-speech analysis. Skinner covered that very well so I don’t feel the need to cover that ground again.

Rep. Aaron Schock plies the crowd after his address

Now, The single most controversial issue that was on the docket was the decision to initiate direct elections. For instance, there are many Republicans who want to change how the members of the State Central Committee are selected. Currently they are appointed by the committeemen but many voices in the party want to change that. They want these party leaders to stand for election (like the Democrats do, incidentally) instead of being appointed by the votes of the committeemen. This issue has been in debate throughout the state for several years already and I’ve covered that debate many times. (Check my out old coverage of SB600 using the search feature)

I am told that several attempts were made by various committeemen to get this issue its due during Friday’s Committee meetings. The issue failed in committee on Friday, but a spirited debate continued that afternoon, anyway. Ultimately, John Parrot of Congressional District 15 attempted to get the direct elections issue brought to the convention floor on Saturday for discussion and a vote as a separate issue. Instead party leaders decided to allow a “yea” or “nay” vote on Saturday.
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What Happened at the Illinois GOP Convention? Mostly Status Quo, But…”

Jerry Clarke Announces for 13th Congressional District – He is the Wrong Choice for the GOP

-By Warner Todd Huston

Jon Zahm is hoping that the powers that be will draft Kyle McCarter to fill the about to be vacant — and redistricted — 13th Congressional seat now that Representative Tim Johnson announced that he isn’t going to run for reelection after all (despite that he just won the nomination only a few weeks ago).

With Johnson stepping down but the primaries already over, this means we have no candidate. That being the case the candidate that faces the Democrat in November will be appointed by the State Party to run for the office.

This week we’ve discovered that Jerry Clarke, a little known congressional aide, has announced that he wants the appointment and many assume the establishment GOP will just hand it over to him despite that Clarke has no electoral history and no real resume other than being buddies with the establishment types.

Party Chairman Pat Brady told the press that he will be “fair” with this process, a process that includes his cousin, Dan Brady.
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Jerry Clarke Announces for 13th Congressional District – He is the Wrong Choice for the GOP”

Illinois GOP to hold first-ever online/in-person Presidential Straw Poll on Nov. 5

From the Illinois GOP…

The Illinois Republican Party will host a unique opportunity for Republican voters to participate in the first-ever in-person/online presidential straw poll held by a state Republican Party.

Complete with early voting online and in person locations, the Illinois Republican Straw Poll allows any Illinois resident a chance to participate.

“Other states have had straw polls at one location and websites have had online polls but no one has ever done what we’re doing,” said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady. “Republican voters in Illinois from Chicago to Cairo and anywhere in between can participate without traveling very far and they can even do so without leaving their house. We’ll even have early voting just like a regular election to maximize convenience.”
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Illinois GOP to hold first-ever online/in-person Presidential Straw Poll on Nov. 5″

Illinois GOP State Central Committee Meeting: Sound and Fury Signifying No Changes

-By Warner Todd Huston

In one of the most well attended yet contentious State Central Committee meetings for some time, the movers and shakers of the Illinois GOP met on Tuesday evening to attempt to decide if the system for certifying delegates for GOP presidential candidates should be changed. The short answer is that there was a lot of sound and fury from party members lower on the food chain, much debate from those on top, and questions all around all of which resulted in a failure of the proposal to make the change. In the end a resolution was passed to keep it all the same as it was in 2008.

Beginning at 5 PM the meeting at the Boilingbrook Country Club was well attended by both SCC members, concerned party members, a few county party chairs, committeemen, and Tea Party activists. House leader Tom Cross made an appearance as did long-time conservative activist Jack Roeser. Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford was also there, like many of the others, to speak about the proposed rules change.

I should note that one reason this rules change was contemplated is that the national Republican Party is trying to get every state to change their system into one of proportional representation of delegates to the convention. The RNC gave Illinois the leeway to change its process and several activists took this opportunity to propose a major change to the system, a change that meets the law as well as state and national party rules.

Certainly the change being contemplated was extensive. Currently, the presidential candidates are awarded delegates via the ballot box, a method only three other states favor. Campaigns come to Illinois, build their Illinois machine, and solicit for delegates. These delegates then have to stand for election on the primary ballot. To do so they must each get 600 signatures of voters in their district so that they, the delegates, can get on the election ballot. Then, those elected are considered official delegates to the GOP nomination convention.
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Illinois GOP State Central Committee Meeting: Sound and Fury Signifying No Changes”

Illinois GOP to Change How Presidential Candidate Delegates Chosen

-By Warner Todd Huston

In a follow up to my post last week on the proposed changes on how Illinois selects the delegates for GOP presidential candidates, more needs to be said about this as on the evening of Tuesday, September 6, the Illinois GOP State Central Committee will meet to discuss whether or not the changes will be accepted.

My points made last week about the State Central Committee endeavoring to take away even more ability of Illinois GOP voters to influence the milieu of Republican politics in Illinois was written before I had seen the final wording of the resolution in question. From the old language I had seen up to that time, it seemed pretty clear that the GOP State Central Committee was trying to take even more power unto itself. This was intolerable, especially after so much GOP failure over the last decade in the Land of Lincoln.

However, I have now seen what is up to now the full proposal, the one that will be discussed at the Tuesday SCC meeting. The most recent proposal mitigates my fears somewhat… but not entirely.
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Illinois GOP to Change How Presidential Candidate Delegates Chosen”

Illinois Budget Deficit: Worst of the Worst

-By Warner Todd Huston

Illinois ended 2010 as the most indebted state in the union. Sadly, not a thing has been done so far in 2011 to make it better. Instead, it will get worse.

As State House News reports, the state rings in at number 50 in the nation’s most broke states.

Illinois owed $37.9 billion more than all of its assets combined, including cash, investments and property, as of July 1, 2010, according to a recent statewide financial audit by the Illinois Auditor General William Holland and Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

So far and just like the states unpaid vendors, even taxpayers expecting refunds got stiffed because the state somehow forgot to put $1.4 billion in the refund fund for taxpayers that overpaid their taxes. Now those awaiting refunds will have to wait.
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Illinois Budget Deficit: Worst of the Worst”

Blame (Republican) SB35 Opponents for Illinois DREAM Act Passage

-By Doug Ibendahl

“The decay of the Soviet experiment should come as no surprise to us. Wherever the comparisons have been made between free and closed societies — West Germany and East Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, Malaysia and Vietnam — it is the democratic countries that are prosperous and responsive to the needs of their people.” – Ronald Reagan

A lot of Republicans are outraged that 11 Republican State Senators helped the Democrats pass the Illinois DREAM Act last week (the bill is now in the House).

The outrage is certainly justified. But it wasn’t just the DREAM Act. The GOP Platform took a beating on several fronts last week.
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Blame (Republican) SB35 Opponents for Illinois DREAM Act Passage”

Illinois GOP Amends Bylaws on SCC Elections

From the Illinois GOP

The State Central Committee of the Illinois Republican Party amended their bylaws yesterday to resolve a long-standing issue with regard to voting open precincts in the election of State Central Committeemen.

The amendment addressed the issue of allocation of votes from precincts that do not have elected Republican Precinct Committeemen. Prior to the amendment, Republican Party County Chairmen had the ability to cast the votes of the vacant precincts however they pleased. The amendment changed this rule by mandating that upon the election of State Central Committeemen, the weighted vote of the vacant precincts “shall be allocated to each candidate based on the proportion of weighted votes they received from the elected Precinct Committeemen.”
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Illinois GOP Amends Bylaws on SCC Elections”

VIDEO: Short Interview With Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady

-By Warner Todd Huston

On February 5, 2011, I attended the Illinois GOP Ronald Reagan 100th Birthday Diner and there I had the opportunity to have a quick few minutes with Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady. I asked him about how the Ill. GOP intends to capitalize on the GOP gains in the rest of the country. I also threw him a curve ball and asked about a Quinn recall over the tax issue to see what he’d say.

I also spoke with a few other GOP notables that night. Unfortunately, I only got a scant few minutes with them all.

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VIDEO: Short Interview With Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady”

Illinois Celebrates Ronald Reagan’s 100th

-By Warner Todd Huston

I am here tonight at the Illinois Republican Party celebration of Ronald Reagan’s 100 birthday. The event is being held at the Hilton on the Mag Mile, Michigan Avenue, downtown Chicago. Tonight we’ll be seeing a small retinue of stars in the GOP firmament. Senator Mark Kirk, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, Congressman Mike Pence (Indiana), former Penn. Senator Rick Santorum, former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, with closing remarks by Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

It is a packed house with over 600 diners enjoying the evening.
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Illinois Celebrates Ronald Reagan’s 100th”

Illinois Republican State Central Committee Meeting Report

I’ve attended one of these meetings in the past and to tell the truth, the Party does not take much effort to make what goes on there relevant to anything in the general electorate. Then,. after the public session they shoo everyone out and have the private leadership meeting and the public is not invited.

Anyway, this year Doug Ibendahl attended the one held in Bolingbrook and posted a report on Republican News Watch.

Here is an excerpt…
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Illinois Republican State Central Committee Meeting Report”

Highlights of Illinois GOP Chair Brady’s Conference Call

-By Warner Todd Huston

Earlier today the Chairman of the Illinois GOP conducted a conference call with the media and other interested folks concerning the Illinois GOP’s plans and thoughts on the coming election. Here are some of the highlights of what Pat Brady said…

“The visit today says more about Alexi’s weakness as a candidate than anything. Let’s take a little look at the history here. Alexi Giannoulias was the fourth choice of the Democrat Party… He was not the enthusiastic choice, by any means, of the Democrats here in the state…
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Highlights of Illinois GOP Chair Brady’s Conference Call”

Highlights From Pat Brady’s Comments on Elections

Earlier this week Illinois GOP Chair Pat Brady hosted a conference call to discuss the state Party’s efforts for this election cycle. Here are some highlights of that call:

“As always we welcome the President at home but his campaign appearance in his home state speaks volumes as to the state of the Democratic Party nationally and the traditional blue state of Illinois in this election cycle…

“Democrats don’t even have their base here in Illinois, let alone the election deciding independents. And Illinois is the epicenter of what’s going on nationally, and I think we see that in the momentum we’ve had in our victory program. Today we’ve made 2.5 million voter contacts…

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Highlights From Pat Brady’s Comments on Elections”

GOP Chair Pat Brady: Tuesday – Last Day to Register to Vote in Illinois‏

From Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady…

With all of the busyness of the campaign season, it’s important to make sure all of our votes count. You can’t vote if you’re not registered. Tomorrow (October 5) is the last day to register for the November 2 election.

If you’ve moved recently or you’re not sure whether you’re registered, contact your local election authority, or go to the Illinois State Board of Elections web site to check your registration status. Click here for more on registration. You can download a voter registration form here.
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GOP Chair Pat Brady: Tuesday – Last Day to Register to Vote in Illinois‏”

The Fall Campaign Starts Today with Reforms & Respect

From Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady…

The Illinois Republican Party’s slate of candidates will work to reform Illinois state government, restore the state’s sinking economy and return respect and integrity to Springfield in November.

There is hope for our state, and as bad as it’s been under the Blagojevich and Quinn Administrations, we must not lose heart.

This campaign is about what Republicans will do to erase our deficits, get our state’s economy moving and put people back to work. Voters have a real choice this fall: more of the same Democratic control or real, honest reforms that Republicans will fight for if given the opportunity.
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The Fall Campaign Starts Today with Reforms & Respect”

ILL. GOP Chair Pat Brady: A Republican Tidal Wave‏

From Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady…

On November 2nd, Illinois will elect a Republican to the United States Senate and a Republican as the next governor of Illinois. Don’t take my word for it – that’s the latest prediction from one of America’s top political prognosticators. According to Stuart Rothenberg, “This cycle is bad for the Democrats and particularly bad for Illinois Democrats.”

He’s right. A new Politico reports a “tidal wave” might be coming for Republicans. The Hill newspaper notes Mark Kirk already leads Alexi Giannoulias 45-23 in the 19th Congressional District.
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ILL. GOP Chair Pat Brady: A Republican Tidal Wave‏”

GOP Boss Pat Brady: ‘We Won’t Make Big Deal of Blago Verdict.’… Ill. GOP Being the Stupid Party Again?

-By Warner Todd Huston

On WBEZ radio the Chairman of the Illinois GOP made an odd statement. He told the radio station that he didn’t think the Illinois GOP was going to make a big deal out of the upcoming verdict in troubled Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich’s trial.

Not make a big deal of it? Why in the name of all things political would the leader of a Party throw away one of the best things that could happen to his party: the conviction of the other party’s head man?

When asked about the Blago verdict, Brady said, “You know, we could make a lot of political hay out of it. I don’t think we will, because [I’ll] just [be] relieved it’s over.”

We won’t make any political hay out of it?

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GOP Boss Pat Brady: ‘We Won’t Make Big Deal of Blago Verdict.’… Ill. GOP Being the Stupid Party Again?”

National GOP Officials Announce Investment in Ill. GOP Races

WASHINGTON – The Republican National Committee (RNC) today announced its Illinois D2H Victory campaign to establish the grassroots political operation to ensure Republican candidates are successful in November. In partnership with the Illinois Republican Party (IL GOP), the RNC is providing funding and resources to build the in-state GOP structure to support Republican leaders.

The RNC will devote the resources necessary to enhance the IL GOP’s ability to effectively reach Republican voters and tap into the state’s grassroots volunteer base. This investment in Republican state parties is a critical part of the RNC’s Delaware to Hawaii (“D2H”) strategy to compete aggressively in all fifty states.
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National GOP Officials Announce Investment in Ill. GOP Races”

WATCH: Governor Quinn: ‘But that’s just how it works…’

From Bill Brady for Governor and the Illinois GOP…

Pay hikes for state government executives during a fiscal crisis is outrageous, but Governor Quinn? He defends his executive pay hikes, telling viewers on Chicago Tonight, “… that’s how it works.”

If Pat Quinn is serious about controlling state spending, he should immediately enact a wage freeze on state government payroll, and reverse his pay hikes for his executive staff today.

Fox News Chicago Digging Deeper on Illinois Pension Mess

-By Warner Todd Huston

My friend Lennie Jarratt was featured on Fox News Chicago last night. The subject was the $85 billion dollar deficit that the Illinois finds its public employee pensions confronted with. Fox News reports that every Illinois citizen would have to fork over $6,600 to instantly solve the problem. And what has caused this problem? Unions.

Lennie has some great lines in this piece and he’s right on. He is right that education in America has become “legalized theft.” Here are some of his main points:

  • Getting a public sector job is like hitting the lottery
  • The way schools levy is legal theft
  • We have the highest property taxes in the Midwest
  • Nearly all of the top 50 public sector pensions in IL are educators
  • Killing jobs and forcing people to leave the state further cutting state revenue
  • Within 4-6 years most public sector retirees are making more than when working

Illinois isn’t the only state in this union-made morass. Nearly every state in the union is in this mess.
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Fox News Chicago Digging Deeper on Illinois Pension Mess”

GOP Chairman Elected to Full Term

-By Warner Todd Huston

GOP Party Chairman Pat Brady was elected to a full term as chairman at the State Central Committee meeting this weekend.

Brady was appointed to the position by the state GOP after former Chairman Andy McKenna stepped down in an unsuccessful attempt to run for Governor last year. Brady served the final months of McKenna’s term and now begins his own full four-year term.

Congratulations to Chairman Brady and let’s hope that he can do more for the party long-term than the failed former chairman, McKenna. Brady would be smart to heed the conservative groundswell in this nation and stop the habit of past Illinois GOP powermongers of isolating, ignoring, and working against Illinois conservatives.

Quinn’s Wants 1% Income Tax Hike ‘For Education’

-By Warner Todd Huston

In his budget speech, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing a one percent hike in the state income tax in order to”restore our education budget to current levels.” A one percent increase is like a 33% increase if the tax goes from a flat tax of 3% to one of 4%.

In his speech (beginning on page 10) Quinn addresses the education budget. Sadly, Quinn’s proposal does nothing to address why the problem has arisen in the first place.

Quinn asks for no necessary cuts, he asks for no union concessions, he makes no effort to tighten our education belt in Illinois. Quinn should be slashing the unnecessarily lavish benefits that teachers unions force out of the state, hundreds of useless administrators should be fired and their positions eliminated. The whole education establishment needs to be assessed for it excess. Those imagining that the “fix” is just to pump more money into these failing schools are fooling themselves.

But Quinn is doing nothing but treading water with the state’s education establishment when he should be demanding a bottom to top review of the waste of public education in Illinois.
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Quinn’s Wants 1% Income Tax Hike ‘For Education’”

‘Unofficial Roster’ Of the New Slate of Ill. Republican State Central Committeemen

-By Warner Todd Huston

The Illinois GOP released a list of the presumed slate of State Central Committee Members for the 2010 election cycle. they are “unofficial” because all results have yet to be certified officially but these are the results as reported by the various counties.

For those unaware, the State Central Committee is the deliberative body that decides party goals, rules, and handles the day-to-day operations of the Illinois Republican Party. It is chaired by the Ill. GOP Chairman, currently Pat Brady. (See info at the Ill. GOP website.)

2010 State Central Committee County Conventions were conducted on March 3, 2010. Results for the State Central Committee positions were unofficially reported to the State Party and these may be viewed below. Individual counties will provide their results to the Illinois State Board of Elections for certification.
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‘Unofficial Roster’ Of the New Slate of Ill. Republican State Central Committeemen”