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Thorner: GOP could win 9 Dem House seats in 2018, grab Madigan’s majority



TillmanBy Nancy Thorner – 

The hope for Illinois' future lies in non-voting white males and minorities, Illinois Policy Institute's CEO John Tillman told Republican women in the well-to-do settings of Chicago's northern suburbs earlier this month.

Energizing those voters that President Donald Trump got to the polls in neighboring states could help to gain nine seats in the Illinois House that would grab the majority from longtime Democrat king pen House Speaker Mike Madigan, Tillman said.

Tillman founded or co-founded a variety of key organizations in Illinois to create the competitive capacity needed to turn Illinois around. In addition to leading the launch of the Illinois Policy Institute 501(c)(3), he founded Illinois Policy 501(c)(4), the Liberty Justice Center a 501(c)(3) public-interest law firm, the Illinois Opportunity Project 501(c)(4) and the Illinois Liberty Political Action Committee. He is regularly featured in the Chicago media, and has appeared on FOX News Channel, FOX Business, the BBC and NPR, as well as in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and other news outlets.  Tillman spoke at the Republican event as a citizen activist rather than as a representative of any non-profit organization.

John Tillman spoke initially about how he came to found a pro-free enterprise movement in Illinois, the Illinois Policy Institute.

Tillman mentioned the Janus case  which is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, dealing with workers' freedom from paying union dues. A positive outcome will have important ramifications across this nation, he said.

Tillman serves on the board of directors of America's Future Foundation, which is focused on the Millennial generation. While there is a common perception that conservatives cannot compete with Millennials, Tillman pointed out that both Mitt Romney in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016 won white Millennials. Overall they lost Millennials because overwhelming numbers of black and Hispanic voters vote for Democrats. Thus, conservatives must do more to reach out to minorities, not just for electoral wins but because our ideas are better to help everyone, especially minorities. 

The question posed by Tillman was how can Republican win in Illinois when to win Republicans must likewise appeal to independents and soft Democrats?

Tillman noted that to win Republicans should not adopt left-of-center policies.  Instead, Tillman recommended winning over voters by making the argument in a way that they can be understood. 

Republicans lost their way in early July when 15 Republicans voted for the Democrat budget that contained a $5 billion tax hike.  Gov. Rauner did veto the tax hiking budget, but there were enough Republicans voting to increase taxes and he was overridden. What happened in the aftermath is that 9 out of the 15 Republicans resigned, thus clearing the field to elect a different brand of Republicans. Democrat seats also opened up with a total of at least 31 members now retiring.  

Despite Democrat rule in the Illinois House and Senate, Tillman sees a soft underbelly of an extremely fragile blue wall. 

Tillman noted that the greatest vein of available voters are the 1.6 million white men who did not vote in the 2012 election in Illinois. By doing better to sell our ideas to minorities, women and Millennials, and winning over some of these non-voters, Illinois could once again become competitive even in a presidential year. Donald Trump's win in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin was, in part, because he did exactly that. 

According to Tillman, the path forward for Republicans is in the Illinois House, where nine seats are needed to take control of the majority. Tillman noted that there is a possibility to win nine seats out of a pool of about 25 House seats that will be competitive. Sixteen of those districts were won by Gov. Rauner in 2014 though the House seat is still held by a Democrat. That is where the greatest opportunities are. What makes the takeover of the House possible is that Democrats in the House are ticked off by their own Democrat leadership, Mike Madigan. Even Democrats in Cook County objected to the proposed Sugar tax.

Deep research is being done to put the election model together in these districts. Allies across the spectrum, including the Illinois Policy Institute, also are reaching voters and citizens through their huge Facebook followings.

Tillman also indicated that primaries are the means to change the brand.  Accordingly, he suggested to the audience that there is a need to get involved in the spring of 2018. Republicans must chose wisely in the primary fights in March of 2018 and then carry their brand into Democratic districts to advance their brand.   It is also important that Republicans believe in their own brand to be able to persuade others that their lives will be better if they vote for the Republican brand.

Politics is a blood sport. Republicans must fight, and we must fight harder and better than Democrats.

The state's public employee pension problem represents 25% of Illinois' budget. The solution rides in protecting the pensions of current retirees and near term, but placing new employees on a 401k program, Tillman said.

This nation is presently in a fight for the very core of what this nation was founded upon.    The battle is over whether citizens will remain in charge of its government or whether government will wrest control away from the citizens.  Competition exists between these two competing forces.  Our Founding Fathers were brilliant in realizing that man becomes more secure from freedom and that dependence on government takes away freedom. 

More about the evening's program

The Women's Republican Club of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff  and the Shield  Republican Organization presented a free event on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, at Gorton Community Center, 400 E. Illinois Road in Lake Forest, IL, to informally meet state and county GOP candidates.   Peggy Siebert is president of the Club.

John Tillman, Chairman and CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute was the featured speaker.  The Illinois Policy Institute is an independent organization generating public policy solutions aimed at promoting personal freedom and prosperity in Illinois. 

Dan Rogers served a Master of Ceremonies.   Dan invited Carla Wyckoff, Lake County Clerk, to speak about the signing of candidate petitions and how care must be taken to make sure the directions are followed. Carla indicated that 1,700 election judges were needed in

Lake County, that eight polling places have changed, and how one early voting site will be added in West Deerfield.   A new and improved website was described as a tool for election information. 

Next introduced was Mark Shaw, Chairman of the Republican Party in Lake County, who introduced candidates now holding office and candidates running in the Illinois March Primary to challenge their Democrat opponents in November.


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  1. Another good piece here from my friend Nancy Thorner.
    There is quite a bit of buzz with upcoming races. Hopefully we will know more on the governor’s race today. Will there be a primary candidate? Will it be Jeanie Ives?

  2. So the Tea Party is okay with cutting up babies, just like Bruce Rauner and his wife Diane are? Then I guess we have to add the IL Tea Party to the LONG list of Illinois RINOs, along with Pat Brady, Tim Schneider, and the rest of the Rauner Party…