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IL GOP National Committeeman to state central committee members: It’s all Speaker Madigan’s fault



Some of the Illinois Republican Party longtime elite are saying that because Donald Trump lost Illinois by 16 points, what Republicans in other surrounding states are pushing is irrelevant and maybe even detrimental to the Illinois Republican Party. It's ridiculous for the conservative wing to be upset by Governor Rauner's promotion of the Leftist social agenda because what those new state laws represent are really meaningless and don't change a thing. Richard Porter_1473696303

What's important though is that all the divisions and factions in the state party are Speaker Mike Madigan's fault and Republicans must work together to succeed.

That's what one member of the 10th CD IL GOP Old Guard is telling State Central Committee Members, as an email sent out Thursday entitled "Chess and Illinois Politics" from Richard Porter, the Illinois GOP's National Committeeman, says.  By the way, he also served as general counsel to Governor Rauner’s
transition and continues to provide advice on key legal issues confronting the state of Illinois.

Leaked to Illinois Review.com for our readers information is the email as we received it, via a credible and respected source:

State Central Committee Members,

In chess, a fork is a tactic whereby a single piece makes two or more direct attacks simultaneously. Most commonly two pieces are threatened, which is also sometimes called a double attack. The attacker gains no matter how the opponent responds; the opponent typically can only seek to mitigate the adverse impact, while pursuing his or her strategy. 

It's not for nothing that Madigan has ruled Illinois for over 40 years. First, he knows the terrain — he starts with the advantage that the preferences of the state's electorate lean toward Democrats. Second, he knows how to play Illinois electoral chess. 

Donald Trump lost Illinois by 16 points, even though he narrowly carried our neighboring states. Why? A glance at the electoral map is revealing: 


On the other hand, Rauner won by winning the suburban counties that Clinton carried http://www.politico.com/2014-election/results/map/governor/illinois/#.Wdkac0FOmaM. Culturally, many Chicago suburbs have more in common with the suburbs of NYC or SF than they do with the suburbs of Milwaukee, Indy or St Louis. And Champaign and Peoria counties have a relatively large proportion of student and academic voters, who are culturally to the left of the other residents in those counties. 

Rauner took suburbs and counties that Trump lost by taking the fight into Democratic turf http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/in-illinois-governor-s-race-republican-victory-came-behind-enemy/article_5dce84c9-cfa0-5a05-82d6-01b7e838fe2c.html.  He did so by focusing on the dysfunction in Springfield that is destroying opportunities in our state. And then in 2016, we picked up legislative seats despite the Clinton landslide by again focusing on the dysfunction driven by Madigan's near despotic control over the state. We even won a House seat in Chicago!

Bear this in mind: Democrats control our legislature, Madigan controls the Democrats and so Madigan controls the agenda.  So what does Madigan do with this control?

Madigan, the master player of Illinois politics, used his control of the agenda to set up a series of "forks" to blunt our advance and set the table for next year's election.   Madigan's agenda is to win, so Madigan's agenda is to focus attention on anything but what's actually happening in the state. His game plan: distract, divide and diminish. 

Which brings me to SB31, HB40, and the transgender license bill — three issues Madigan put on the political agenda this year. 

SB31 codifies a federal court order binding on police agencies in Illinois that prohibited arrests or retention by state agencies solely on the basis of immigration status. It doesn’t limit arresting illegal immigrants for crimes, communications between ICE and state authorities, or handing over criminals who are here illegally. That's why so many law enforcement organizations and agencies endorsed the bill. Actual law enforcement practices, and the routine turnover of illegal immigrants who commit crimes to federal authorities, all continue essentially unchanged. 

Today, abortion is a right the Supreme Court discovered in the penumbras of rights actually enumerated in the Constitution. Abortion rights are thus the law in Illinois, and will remain the law in Illinois unless and until 5 justices remove this right from the case law and return authority to the states. Plus, abortions were already paid for by the taxpayers of Cook County, and everywhere in Illinois abortions for low income mothers were made available by nonprofits and other agencies, but had not been more broadly funded by taxpayers until Madigan chose to push HB 40 this year.

And finally this: how many people will avail themselves of the new transgender definition in licenses? 

All three of the bills implicate the differing perspectives roiling and boiling in our country. All are intertwined with the issues of race, nationality, sexuality and family that drive our cultural debates. They emanate from and reflect the very fundamental ideas we have about ourselves and how we relate to each other and even what it means to be a human being. 

This is all profound stuff. Let's face it — our views on these matters are a big part of why each of us get involved in politics. So on the one hand, these bills look and feel momentous because they implicate our most basic and passionately held beliefs. On the other hand, none of these bills actually change anything about your actual, everyday life in Illinois.  Despite the attention these bills have drawn, 99.99% of what Illinois government does remains unchanged after these bills.

And the one thing Madigan wants to stop is our movement to change everyday life in Illinois and what our government does. 

Please humor me for a moment and consider these bills from Madigan's perspective. Why did he put these bills on the agenda — and why now? For example, HB40 changes a law he passed in 1979 — why make the change now? What's his motivation?

Madigan is preparing the field and playing for his survival. Each bill presents a cultural fork — if his opponent goes one way, his base will be distracted and divided. If he goes the other way, he riles the cultural liberals, some of whom we must convince to join us to carry Illinois. 

Many on our team are not happy with the choice our Governor made when presented with Madigan's forks.  He ended up making personal choices that many receiving this would not. I am not writing to tell you that you're wrong.  I am not writing to tell you that one choice was good politically — either choice would bring political costs. 

But I am writing to remind you that Madigan presented these bills and to ask you to see this for it is: Madigan playing the game, forcing a choice that either divides our coalition, distracts us from taking on the Democratic machine or diminishes the outreach necessary for us to be a majority. 

Frankly, I feel like even discussing this plays into his hands. But I feel we must at least to the extent necessary to assess what the heck is going on. 

If you see that these bills are part of Madigan's strategy then don't let Madigan play you like some pawn on his board. Channel your anger toward Madigan — don't fall into his trap of division and distraction. 

If we control the legislature, none of those bills would have been passed and sent to the Governor. So, if you're upset by these bills, direct your anger at the guy who put them on the agenda. None of these were Rauner initiatives — all are the initiative of Madigan.  If you find these initiatives galling, then join us in the fight to pull out the roots of the problem: we need to take the House back from Madigan. 

This election is particularly crucial because we will be redistricting in 2020. If we don't find a way to stick together and add 10 percentage points to the Trump coalition that’s necessary to win the Governor's race or take the House, then we have no seat at the table in the remap. And with no seat for the remap, Madigan will be free to draw districts to maintain his power. And, with Madigan in power, not only do we lose the cultural matters about which we feel passion, but we lose on the everyday issues that are driving this state toward failure. 

Focusing on winning the struggle to take back Illinois doesn't mean you're a sellout to the issues that are your passion. Channeling passion into the political challenge of building our coalition into a majority requires commitment and focus over the long term. We need to stick together, and attract more to our banner, if we are ever going to have a chance of actually achieving our goals.  


My introduction to the Illinois Republican Party came in 1992 when I came with Vice President Quayle to a meeting at Arlington race track. In one conference room, we met with Governor Edgar and his supporters who spent most of the hour meeting complaining about "extremists" in our party. After the meeting broke, Quayle and I and the rest of the staff walked down the hall into another conference room where we held hands as someone said a prayer — and then most of the ensuing hour was spent listening to complaints about Edgar and his RINO supporters. 

I don't recall the exact words the Vice President used as we drive back to Air Force 2, but it was not complimentary of the IRP or either faction. The last few months, I have heard and read a lot that reminds me of that scene. 

We are at our best when we work together with the goal of improving Illinois instead of working as factions against each other with the goal of "improving" the Republican Party. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Richard Porter


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  1. So according to Richard Porter, none of this matters. According to Richard Porter, we are playing into Madigan’s hands even discussing these issues. Mr. Porter, how do you expect to change minds and win policy arguments by staying silent. You are not a leader Mr. Porter. You have given up the fight and are a coward. Rich Porter’s account of history is equally insulting. Bruce Rauner won the votes of Republicans and independents by promising to “shake up” Springfield. He promised term limits and fair maps. He promised pension reforms. He promised a better business climate. He promised to roll back taxes, which he presided over only to meekly allow them to go back a few years later. Bruce Rauner has not delivered anything that he promised Illinois voters. He has a better record on delivering on Pat Quinn’s promises to voters.
    But forget everything I have said. Forget the headlines. Forget history. This is all Mike Madigan’s puppet mastery afterall.
    Rich Porter, your essay is sickening and an embarrassment. It shows that the ILGOP and national GOP have no respect for it’s constituents. They are just hanging on for the scraps that let them dine at Chesapeake In Springfield, or golf with their buddies while “forking” up the party and deciding who’s turn it is to run for what.

  2. So I wonder how Richard Porter feels about voting to override Rauner’s Tax Veto?
    The GOP in Illinois has never been a real anything. Remember when Senator Peter Fitzgerald came back to run as an incumbent Senator only to be told by the Illinois GOP, we’re going to primary you….Why? Because Denny “the Pork” Hastert was tired of Peter Fitzgerald raining on his pork parade. Obama became the Illinois Senator in that election by the way. You can thank Judy Barr Topinka for that.
    John Kass called politicians in Illinois ” Then bi-partisan culture of corruption”. Long since has the GOP been happy to eat the crumbs from the Democrat table. Many work for Madigan and get non-aggression pacts where Madigan won’t run a candidate against them for a few terms as long as they vote his way.
    I’m not taking anything away from Madigan, he owns it all. A corrupt Attorney Genera’s office, corrupt judges, corrupt laws, and absolutely broken fiscal policy.
    But too often the Illinois GOP jumped on the public union bandwagon, Edgar, Thompson, they get a good portion of blame too for our unfunded pension mess.
    Isn’t it just like the elites to lecture us and think we’ll suck it up. I’m very tired of our politicians who act more like prostitutes then someone there to represent the taxpayers.

  3. Political prostitute and pimp Porter is indeed a vulgar joke, walking and talking.
    As the fake Republicans in Cook County do, he also urinates on your face and tells you it’s only raining outside.
    – Carl Segvich, conservative Republican Committeeman, Cook County, Chicago – 11th Ward

  4. This is exactly why I DON’T consider myself a Republican in this state. It isn’t a Conservative party. In fact, historically that county club has actually detrimented this state, created new taxes, expanded government and embraced progressivism.

  5. Thank you Mr. Porter for explaining after the fact how this all worked and why it all happened the way it happened. Your calm words and rational explanation of how events transpired, and how helpless the ILGOP was, gives me comfort and succor in these troubled times. It certainly explains how and why so many Republicans broke ranks and gave critical Democrat seats cover. It answers any questions the rank and file might have as to why, instead of developing some sort of counter strategy or informing us little people what was coming, why it’s so important to have an explanation after the fact of why we have to keep doing what we’ve been doing…because just as surely as doing the same thing over and over will lead to different results, surely that way leads to electoral victory.

  6. Gentlemen, your spitting spitefullness makes my point: toward what end do you virtue signal, and vent your anger, at someone who stands with you? We do not start with majority support in Illinois for all the ideas held by most in our party, but there is majority support for the need to reform Illinois. We can argue about who is what kind of a Republican, and drive folks away, or we can pick ourselves up after each and every frustration and continue to press forward for victory of our ideas. Don’t be a Republican snowflake; be a resilient Republican.

  7. Mr. Porter –
    Never do you ever refer to the IL GOP Platform – the document that draws the rank and file to the party. If you and those in leadership think that document and what it advocates is not important, please be honest with us so we know that the party nor its candidates are to adhere to it.
    At least we will have a chance to make decisions based on this public declaration. We won’t be misled.
    The reason I was drawn to the IL GOP was BECAUSE of that platform – not because of the organization or its supposed political power. If the platform means nothing, at least we will know.
    Governor Rauner ignores the platform and its planks as the titular head of the party. You are supporting him in his effort by your arguments.
    I’m one of those irritating principle-based voters. You’ve made it very clear I’m not welcomed in the IL GOP. Thanks for making it clear.

  8. There is no evidence that you stand with us. None. Zero.
    I chose to be a former Republican 10-15 years ago. I’ve never felt more liberated. Your party certainly is not the home of conservatives and never will be.

  9. Thank you for your reply Ms Winters! (Please call me Richard btw). I don’t reject the platform — and I don’t reject those Illinoisans who agree with some but not all. Being a “big tent” means welcoming those who disagree as well. We call it a “platform” — a place to stand. We invite others to stand with us. We don’t call it a “wall” — it is not a device for exclusion. https://ballotpedia.org/Republican_Party_of_Illinois#Platform The other team considers us deplorable. We on the other hand should consider each of them as potential Republican voters, because our ideas really are about the interest of ALL, not just ourselves — we support the ideas that made this country great. Our ideas, our principles and our platform are our calling card… Our party is grand because our ideas are great. Our ideas are better than any of our candidates, each of whom carry the message somewhat imperfectly.

  10. Why do you consider the rest of us the Minority when every republican in the legislature voted against the taxpayer funding of abortion? The ONLY Republican that supported it was the governor.
    WE are not the minority, sir. You and those that ignore the IL GOP platform are the minority. Please step down.

  11. First Rich Porter says that we are being played by Mike Madigan, which implies that we aren’t as enlightened as Madigan or Mr. Porter, and then he tells us not to be snowflakes. The saying isn’t “insults will get you everywhere.” Please stop digging a deeper hole. You call us virtue signalers, making virtue a perjorative. You say that Rauner stands with us? How? What has he done? I don’t know what is harder to find, a Hillary Clinton accomplishment or a Bruce Rauner one. Part of being a good leader is listening to your team. Start there. Another is admitting past mistakes and correcting them. Do that. Find a Republican candidate for Governor. We don’t have a Republican in office at the moment. A letter beside your name does not make you a Republican. Adherence to ideals and platform do.

  12. What are your ideas or principles that are superior to the Democrat party?
    I sure hope it’s not lower taxes, protecting American jobs, less spending, protecting innocent life, or defending traditional American values because if it is you have failed miserably.

  13. Richard should resign and be replaced by someone, with political experience, who knows that a republican governor should agree with most of the republican platform. Chris Lauzen, Jo Ann Osmond, Bill Keck, or Bill Lefew would be a good choice.

  14. Chris Lauzen??? Obviously you have not had to deal with him in his latest guise as County Board Chairman of Kane County!
    Like an oil painting, Lauzen looks good only at a distance.
    He looked good when in Springfield, 125 miles distant. Close up, here in Kane County, we see the REAL Lauzen, “warts and all.”
    Bill Keck is retired, health not so good, I can’t imagine him running for a term at anything.

  15. Wonderful piece written in a thoughtful way as to encourage the exchange of views and ideas.
    Unfortunately, the hard right-wing “Republican social conservatives” in Illinois do not like dealing with the realities that we are faced with. Thus they will continue to be ruled by incompetent and corrupt Democrats and Republicans in our state.
    I totally understand that this is a hard-core group of conservative ideologues here…so you can’t blame them for fuming at Mr. Porter. Unfortunately, so far Governor Bruce Rauner has been an abysmal failure to Republicans and most of all to the folks who volunteered in his campaign. As far as I am concerned Bruce Rauner’s biggest failure has been his lack of VISION…that all great leaders possess.
    Bruce Rauner has shown himself to be nothing more than a POLITICALLY CORRECT MANAGER…at a time when voters throughout the nation are FED UP with political correctness.
    I very strongly supported Bruce Rauner because there were no viable alternatives in 2013/2014…and I still hold that view without any reservations. At present, a viable alternative to Governor Bruce Rauner has yet to surface.
    My biggest disappointment with Governor Bruce Rauner has been his inability to support PRESIDENT TRUMP…it would go against the politically correct advice he receives by those who surround him.
    QUESTION: Who in this audience believes that there is a potential Republican gubernatorial candidate that can beat Pritzker…our new governor by most accounts. I hear that a candidate(s) will be stepping forward shortly.

  16. For the checker players here…Mr. Porter spells it out very clear:
    “This election is particularly crucial because we will be redistricting in 2020. If we don’t find a way to stick together and add 10 percentage points to the Trump coalition that’s necessary to win the Governor’s race or take the House, then we have no seat at the table in the remap. And with no seat for the remap, Madigan will be free to draw districts to maintain his power. And, with Madigan in power, not only do we lose the cultural matters about which we feel passion, but we lose on the everyday issues that are driving this state toward failure.”
    Ex-Congressman Joe Walsh lost his re-election bid when he was completely taken out of his district…that included two major counties…Lake Cook and McHenry.
    You can rest assured that Michael Madigan’s biggest and most calculating strategy, revolves around REDISTRICTING…ALL GREAT CHESS PLAYERS THINK FAR AHEAD, AND THEY ARE MANY MOVES AHEAD OF AMATEURS AND WEAK OPPONENTS.

  17. Mr. Ptak –
    We read all your rantings back in 2014, and they make as much sense as these latest ones do. In other words, your opinion is yours and you have no footing to influence anyone else. You have poor political judgment, sorry, but you demonstrated it in 2014.
    Plus, your lack of humility in arguing is a big turnoff. You really are not the superior political person you think you are. If you believe Rich Porter is right, then join him at the rest of the 15% of the IL GOP that thinks the way you all think.
    When 85% of the IL GOP delegates stood to confirm traditional marriage over same sex marriage at the 2016 IL GOP Convention, the real minority of the party should have seen the writing on the wall. YOU ARE THE MINORITY!
    Just because there’s a few from the wealthy, out of touch and unrealistic 10th Cong Dist that have schmoozed and donated their way into IL GOP influence doesn’t mean you understand or appreciate what the rest of the state believes and lives by.
    Please step back, seriously listen and read what others are saying and stop being so condescending and arrogant. You can learn something from the rest of us. We can learn from you.
    But shaming and scolding will never work to put this party back in the competitive column.

  18. Chairman Mao, President Cullerton, Speaker Madigan and Governor Rauner all believe killing unborn babies is necessary.
    Even China is changing this position
    I new Madigan and Cullerton voted to kill unborn babies.
    It was not necessary to follow than in killing babies
    In God We Trust
    Carl Lambrecht

  19. Very well written Mrs. Winters…and a very expected response. I’m not thin skinned so no problem.
    BTW…I do step back and listen to what others are saying, and more importantly…what they are doing. I was out of politics for 30 years before I decided to get back into it with a vengeance in March of 2010…a few months later I was made a Precinct Committeeman in the Republican Party, even though I had been an Independent for years.
    At the time, and still, I was filled with a furious resolve to get rid of incompetent and corrupt RINO’S, DINO’S and WINO’S who had infested all levels of governance throughout our country. I did not appreciate in the slightest how absolutely millions of Americans throughout our country lost their jobs, savings, health, healthcare, homes, kids future college opportunities, and in extreme cases their very lives. DEMOCRATS and REPUBLICANS were responsible for this financial meltdown tragedy in our nation, that millions of Americans are still trying to recover from…I haven’t forgotten them.
    Not all people are exposed to the same things, and and are driven (if at all) by far different things.
    I am a Republican…in constant search of REAL LEADERS in our state because we are presently LEADERLESS.
    The ENEMY (Democrats) are marching towards us…they have superior numbers and outgun us in every way imaginable in this state.
    I happen to be an Hispanic immigrant that loves our nation and I even joined our military at the ripe old age of 32. I have taken an OATH to defend our Constitution TWICE…from enemies from abroad and from within.
    I have absolutely no desire to respond in a negative way against you. We are on the same team and I will venture to say that you are probably an outstanding American woman in the finest tradition.
    Have a great day/week…God bless.

  20. It is funny that you and Porter think that you are the only people who have thought of redistricting. Most people on these boards have clearly done so and come to the conclusion that electing more Illinois Republicans like Bruce Rauner, Tom Cross, Christine Radogno, Mark Kirk, Jim Durkin, Bill Brady, George Ryan, Jim Edgar won’t amount to a dime’s worth of difference. Those people are correct.

  21. Mr. Porter is wrong when he claims that Rauner signing the SB-31 does not affect the State at all. In fact, illegal aliens will move out of the high cost areas of Chicago and flood to Central Illinois if they feel safe, and it appears that Lisa Madigan’s Manifesto to all Illinois Police and District Attorneys makes illegals so safe that the Cartels might as well move in too! Those small towns that can barely hold up their own School District will have to hire more ESL teachers which means EVEN higher taxes for the locals. Rauner also signed a bill that allows Medicade to pay for abortions vice the customer, which is ethically wrong and a substitute for birth control. Birth control is even free, at a whopping cost of 11 dollars a month.
    Also, the margins were small in Illinois with Trump because of the Motor Voter Laws. It will be revealed very soon with the President’s Commission on Voting that many illegal aliens voted in the General Election. There are half a million illegals in Illinois, and out of 43,000 prisoners (not counting Cook County Jail which is huge, 7200 illegal aliens are incarcerated at any given time.
    Rauner does not support the National Republican Agenda, does not support the Republican President and since Labor Day has signed instead of vetoing every Bill that Madigan puts on his desk.
    So don’t blame it on the Demotards. You have a Governor that is one in action but not in name. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Don’t be fooled like Mr. Porter.

  22. So, these matters that Porter claims are “profound stuff” are at the same time irrelevant since “99.99% of what Illinois government does remains unchanged after these bills”?
    And this is part of why Illinois and the rest of the country are in such a cultural mess.
    The IL GOP continually finds reasons to ignore the incrementalism the Left uses to deracinate moral truths essential to the health of any society and to human flourishing. Word to Porter, government support for the utterly absurd, science-denying, and incoherent “trans” ideology will ultimately cause more harm than high tax rates. Mandating that Illinois taxpayers fund the killing of humans in the womb–or that even more taxpayer dollars be used for the destruction of human lives–is obscene.
    If, as Porter asserts, these are “fundamental ideas we have about ourselves and how we relate to each other and even what it means to be a human being,” then they cannot be ignored or dismissed or rejected even if moral midget Madigan is using them to divide.
    How about “No-Social-Agenda” Rauner step down for the good of the party and all Republicans–including so-called “moderates”–unite around someone who boldly supports the entire GOP platform. Just tell moderates to do what conservatives have long been told: Hold your damn noses and vote for a truly principled candidate like Jeanne Ives.

  23. It is your gross incompetence and condescending, insulting attitude towards the Republicans you have a duty to serve which is driving people away Richard Porter. Do the right thing for the Party and resign. You are an embarrassment not only to yourself, but more importantly, to the GOP. Maybe you are a fine lawyer but you clearly don’t know what you are doing in this political post which I’m guessing you only took for the professional networking opportunities afforded for your law job.