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HomeIllinois NewsChicago Republicans reject GOP Governor for re-election; pick challenger Ives

Chicago Republicans reject GOP Governor for re-election; pick challenger Ives




CHICAGO In a major upset, the Central Committee of the Chicago Republican Party voted 17 to 3 with 2 abstentions to back conservative challenger State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) over incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner. The vote took place Wednesday evening at a general meeting of the city's Republican ward committeemen.

"It's almost unheard of for a regular Republican organization to fail to endorse an incumbent governor," said Chicago GOP Chairman Chris Cleveland. "The people in the room felt that Rauner had betrayed them."

UPDATE: Rep. Ives has since issued a response to the Chicago GOP endorsement: “I am proud to have won the confidence of the Chicago GOP. They are warriors for transparency and small government reforms in a city run almost exclusively by the Chicago Machine. Their bold advocacy will be critical to stoking the revolt, so that we can deliver the conservative reforms Illinoisans were promised in 2014, before Governor Rauner’s wholesale betrayal of the GOP."

Ives spoke to the group for nearly an hour before the vote. Governor Rauner had been invited to speak, but declined to do so. Rauner has avoided large gatherings of Republicans since signing a bill to create taxpayer-funded abortions earlier in the year.

"Jeanne impressed everyone with her determination to hit the state's problems head-on. She also showed a command of policy details," Cleveland said. 

Cleveland also serves as the Ives' campaign finance chairman.

The decision by the Chicago Republican Party to back Ives is significant because of the sheer number of votes produced by the City of Chicago, the group's statement said.

"Republicans in the city produce 5% of the Republican primary vote, and 7.5% of the Republican vote in a general election. The number of Republican votes in the city is larger than the number produced by any county except Cook and DuPage. Primary voters often look to local party organizations for guidance on candidate selection."

Illinois Review
Illinois Review
Founded in 2005, Illinois Review is the leading perspective and source of conservative news, opinion and information in Illinois. Follow Illinois Review on X at @IllinoisReview.


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  1. Bruce Rauner apparently is the only one in Illinois politics who thought Mark Kirk’s 2016 campaign strategy (denying being a Republican while seeking votes and running as a Republican candidate) was golden. Having zero enthusiasm among the party base is not a winning formula.

  2. There was no formal endorsement. This is very misleading. I’m impartial to the candidates, but I am not a fan of fake news. They appointed members to their club picked by Mr. Cleveland. Even after the appointments they still did not have enough members in attendance to formally endorse anyone. Sad.

  3. The importance of Chicago in statewide elections is to generate sufficient votes to permit candidates to offset the city Democratic vote Downstate and in the collar counties. Get back to us after you complete Poli Sci 101.

  4. @locus:
    What is sad is that an incumbent Republican governor refused an invitation to address a group of Republican committeemen (the majority of whom had been elected by Republican primary voters). This is becoming something of a pattern for Mr. “I’m Not in Charge” Rauner who is doing his best to limit his appearances before groups where he may have answer questions or defend his record.

  5. It wasn’t a private club meeting. It was a meeting of a municipal committee of an established political party as provided for in the Illinois Election Code
    10 ILCS 5/7-8(h):
    The municipal central committee of each political party shall be composed of the precinct, township or ward committeemen, as the case may be, of such party representing the precincts or wards, embraced in such city, incorporated town or village. The voting strength of each precinct, township or ward committeeman on the municipal central committee shall be the same as his voting strength on the county central committee.

  6. Rauner support among republicans is disappearing fast. I’m hearing some GOP township organizations will either endorse Jeanne Ives or do no endorsements to stay neutral.
    A sitting Reoublican Governor has no supporters, sad but true.,
    I wish Illinois Review would only allow comments with names of real people. If somebody has a connect they should have the courage to leave their name otherwise they are just a troll., Capital Fax is that way with all the comments under fake names but everybody knows they are democrat trolls..
    Take a look at my story today about Jeannie Ives in Illinois Review: http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2018/01/weyermuller-attending-jeannie-ives-for-governor-event-with-mike-gallagher.html

  7. Inquiring minds want to know why Chairman Morrison promised a December meeting of the Cook County Republican Central Committee last September, but failed to issue a call for such a meeting? Could it be that he realized that an county organization endorsement of Rauner might not be a certainty?
    So now he and his deputy (Del Mar), a Rauner hireling, fault the City committee for calling a meeting and conducting a straw poll that favored Ives.