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Thorner: Senator calls on IL GOP faithful to “hold the party together” at Lincoln Day Dinner




By Nancy Thorner - 

As what is an Illinois Republican Party tradition among local party organizations, Abraham Lincoln's birthday was celebrated at the Grant Township Republican Club's 67th Lincoln Day Dinner last Saturday night in Ingleside, Illinois.

The IL GOP's deepening divisions between the conservative and liberal wings was directly addressed by the evening's keynote speaker, state Senator Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake). She warned that the party will need to come together after the March 20th IL GOP primary. 

"If we don’t," she said, "the Democrats will move in and overtake everything in this state, which will result in massive overspending and a mass exodus of people from the state."

Over 200 people were on hand to hear Althoff's admonition, with over 60 of them former or present Republican office holders or primary candidates.

Lincoln Day Dinner Events

The program opened with remarks by president Joseph Rada of the Grant Township Republican Club, who later in the program became its ex-president when new officers were installed. 

Prior to the serving of a prime rib dinner, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper, followed by a unique and beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by the Grant Township Anthem Singers, a choral ensemble dedicated to the performance of the National Anthem at school athletic events, concerts, and community events throughout the year. Membership is by audition only and auditions are by appointment throughout the year.  A unique Invocation was then presented by Dr. William Dam, who in expressing his admiration for Mother Teresa, read the Prayer on Behalf of Families by Mother Teresa. 

The program listed Demetra DeMonte, Illinois Republican National Committee, as the Keynote Speaker, but she had to cancel her appearance because of the snow that had fallen the day before. Gene Dawson, retired Barrington Twp. Supervisor, introduced Illinois State Senator Pamela Althoff, District 32, as the very capable  substitute Keynote Speaker for the night.

Senator Pamela Althoff impressive bio can be found here.  As a Special Education teacher from 1975-1975, Althoff joked how her position as a Special Ed teacher helped to prepare her for dealing with co-workers.  Althoff served as McHenry City Clerk/Collector from 1994-2001 and as McHenry City Mayor from 2001-2003.  First appointed to the Illinois Senate in 2003, Althoff was elected in 2004 to the present.

Senator Pamela Althoff addresses attendees

Senator Althoff's initial remark was to pronounce that she was not running for office again, then relating how she had relished her professional and political collaboration with the Grant Township Republican Club.  In recalling the redistricting that took place seven years ago, Althoff spoke of the welcome mat that had been rolled out for her in Grant Township. Not once did she ever feel like an outsider, but instead was made to feel part of the family.  For Althoff, participating in the Lincoln Day Dinner was a way for Republicans to reconfirm commitment to Party.

In opining on the behavior of our elected officials, Senator Althoff declared the present as a time of huge political divide.  It's no longer possible to have a friendly discussion in the workplace, among family, or in our social contacts without conversations turning into political debates.  People are also being unfriended from Facebook. 

Althoff spoke of the divide that exists between both political parties, as well as the divide that exists within the Republican Party.  Sniping and attacks are taking place by elected Republicans against Republican candidates running for office with intent to kill or maim their candidacies.  This must stop! 

Senator Althoff believes we can find guidance in looking how Lincoln dealt with candidates of differing views within the Republican Party to bring about a more harmonious situation. Althoff then recalled how Lincoln dealt with his team of political rivals in the 1860 presidential election when three other men were on the ballot with him who were much more established politicians: New York Senator William Seward, Ohio Senator Salmon Chase and former Missouri Representative Edward Bate.  When compared to Lincoln, Seward was too radical, Chase too connected to the Democrats, and Bates too old. Lincoln won the nomination becoming the consensus candidate, as he was the least objectionable candidate.  Lincoln eventually nominated Seward, Chase and Bates to serve as members of his cabinet.  All would advise Lincoln on the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Senator Althoff then cautioned: "We must hold our own party together. If we don’t the Democrats will move in and overtake everything in this state, which will result in massive overspending and a mass exodus of people from the state."

Althoff also had these words of advice:  "After Illinois' March Primary Election on March 2Oth, we must all coalesce around the same candidate for the November General Election.  Unsaid by Althoff but understood, was the need to support whichever candidate prevails in the Illinois March 20th Primary for governor, be it Ives or Rauner. 

To round out the program Nancy Kubalanza, Grant Republican Chairman, presented the Adam Skrzenta Leadership Award to Senator Pamela Althoff

The Lincoln Day Dinner closed with a raffle for which tickets could be purchased throughout the event.

Viability of Ronald Reagan 80% quote survive in today’s contested atmosphere?

This quote is often attributed to resident Ronald Reagan: "If you agree with me 80 percent of the time, you're an 80 percent friend and not a 20 percent enemy," but could the same survive in today's all-or-nothing atmosphere in which the demonizing of opponents is happening by those of the same party affiliation?   

Then too, what about the so-called 11th Commandment as an informal rule in the Republican Party: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican."

What has outraged me on a personal level was the nasty and deceitful mailer I received in the mail, paid for by Citizens for Rauner, Inc., which described Jeanne Ives as part of the problem in Springfield.  The mailer further stated that Ives is in favor of Tax Hikes, aligned with the Mike Madigan Machine, and a Career Politician. There is no way to describe this mass mailing, approved by Bruce Rauner, as anything other than a slanderous piece of propaganda aimed at destroying the candidacy of Jeanne Ives. Tim Schneider, IL GOP State Chairman, also made a shameful and uncalled for swipe against Republican challenger Jeanne Ives by launching a vicious diatribe regarding her recent political ad.  Read here the Open Letter Jack Koenig of Deerfield, IL sent to IL GOP State Chairman Tim Schneider, as published Monday, February 12th at Illinois Review.         

Given the ill will that now exists between Rauner and Ives supporters, it seems necessary that both candidates make a firm, ironclad commitment that they will wholeheartedly support the primary winner for the good of the Republican Party, Illinois, and its citizens.

Below is the Attendance List of Elected Officials, Party Officials and/or Candidates at the Grant Township Republican Club's Lincoln Day Dinner, provided by Mark Shaw, Chairman of the Republican Party in Lake County, Illinois:

  1. Gary Grasso — Candidate for Illinois Attorney General;
  2. Douglas Bennett — Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (C.D. 10);
  3. Sapan Shah — Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (C.D. 10);
  4. Jeremy Wynes — Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (C.D. 10);
  5. Dan McConchie — Illinois Senator and Candidate for Re-election (L.D. 26);
  6. Pamela Althoff — Illinois Senator (L.D. 32);
  7. Craig Wilcox — Candidate for Illinois Senate (L.D. 32);
  8. Marko Sukovic — Candidate for Illinois House of Representatives (H.D. 59);
  9. Karen Feldman – Candidate for Illinois House of Representatives (H.D. 59);
  10. Sheri Jesiel — Illinois House of Representatives and Candidate for Re-election (H.D. 59); 
  11. Ken Idstein – Candidate for Illinois House of Representatives (H.D. 62);
  12. Adam Solano – Candidate for Illinois House of Representatives (H.D. 62);
  13. Tom Weber — Lake County Board Member (C.B.D. 3) and Candidate for Illinois House of Representatives (H.D. 64);
  14. Carla Wyckoff — Lake County Clerk and Candidate for Re-election;
  15. David Stolman – Lake County Treasurer and Candidate for Re-election;
  16. Dr. Howard Cooper — Lake County Coroner;
  17. Michael Nerheim — Lake County State's Attorney;
  18. Robert Grogan — DuPage County Auditor;
  19. Dick Barr — Candidate for Lake County Board (C.B.D. 3);
  20. Judy Martini — Lake County Board Member (C.B.D. 5) and Candidate for Re-election;
  21. Jeff Werfel — Lake County Board Member (C.B.D. 6) and Candidate for Re-election;
  22. Robert Bednar — Candidate for Lake County Board (C.B.D. 6);
  23. Michael Danforth — Lake County Board Member (C.B.D. 17) and Candidate for Re-election;
  24. Rebecca Zeidman — Candidate for Lake County Board (C.B.D. 11);
  25. Aaron Lawlor — Lake County Board Member (C.B.D. 18) and Candidate for Re-election;
  26. Christen Bishop — Lake County Circuit Court Judge and Candidate for Re-election;
  27. Christopher Stride — Lake County Circuit Court Judge and Candidate for Re-election;
  28. James Booras — Lake County Circuit Court Judge;
  29. Daniel Shanes — Lake County Circuit Court Judge (S.C.D. 3) and Candidate for Re-election;
  30. Steve DeRue — Lake County Associate Circuit Court Judge;
  31. George Bridges — Former Lake County Circuit Court Judge;
  32. John Goshgarian — Former Lake County Circuit Court Judge;
  33. Donny Schmit — Fox Lake Mayor;
  34. Bernie Konwent — Fox Lake Trustee;
  35. Brian Marr- Fox Lake Trustee;
  36. Ron Stochl — Fox Lake Trsutee;
  37. Dan MacGillis — Round Lake Mayor;
  38. Dan Sugrue — Green Oaks Trustee;
  39. Virginia Wood — Green Oaks Trustee;
  40. Kay Starostovic — Grant Township Supervisor;
  41. Robert Selle — Grant Township Trustee;
  42. Tom Lippert — Grant Township Trustee;
  43. Carol Ulasy — Grant Township Trustee;
  44. Dan Venturi — Lake Villa Township Supervisor and Former Lake County Republican Central Committee Chairman;
  45. Dominic Marturano — Lindenhurst Mayor and Former Lake Villa Township Republican Chairman;
  46. Tom Adams — Former Green Oaks Mayor and Former Lake County Republican Central Committee Chairman;
  47. Robert Churchill — Former Illinois House of Representatives Majority Leader and Former Lake County Republican Central Committee Chairman;
  48.  Michael Amrozowicz — Former Lake County Republican Central Committee Chairman;
  49. Mark Shaw — Lake County Republican Central Committee Chairman and Illinois State Republican Party Central Committeeman (C.D. 10);
  50. Marjorie Kubalanza — Lake County Republican Central Committee Chairwoman;
  51. Ted Livengood — Lake County Republican Central Committee Second Vice Chairman;
  52. Lynn O'Brien — Lake County Republican Central Committee Third Vice Chairman;
  53. Larry Falbe — Lake County Republican Federation President and Former Libertyville Township Trustee;
  54. Erin Westphal — Lake County Republican Federation Executive Director;
  55. Stan Bond – Illinois State Republican Party Central Committeeman (C.D. 14) and Candidate for Kane County Clerk;
  56. Barbara Richardson — Former Lake County Coroner;
  57. Keith Brin — Former Lake County Circuit Court Clerk;
  58. Eugene Dawson — Former Illinois State Republican Party Central Committeeman (C.D. 8);
  59. Dr. William Dam — Former Illinois State Republican Party Central Committeeman (C.D. 8);
  60. Numerous Republican Township Organization Chairmen and Precinct CommitteemenD


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  1. This from the party that enabled Obama and Duckworth to become senators. This from the party which supplied the necessary votes for a tax increase. This from the party which is a willing participant of the progressive agenda in this state so to assure at least some of the crumbs fall on their select special interests. I hope the prime rib was done to the likings of all.

  2. Senator Athoff (sic) then cautioned: “We must hold our own party together. If we don’t the Democrats will move in and overtake everything in this state, which will result in massive overspending and a mass exodus of people from the state.”
    Has she been asleep the last decade? This has already happened.

  3. The difference between Ives’ negative and the Rauner piece is that Rauner’s attacks were not based on facts, totally distorted like the picture they used of Ives. It symbolizes what Rauner is like without somebody like Proft doing his campaign—he and the advisers he has left after all the chaos, betrayals and, yes, out right corruption do not have a clue how to run a campaign, never mind an administration. The biggest obstacle Ives has now is not Rauner—the Democrats have woken up to how weak Pritzker is as a candidate and will nominate somebody not so obviously corrupt and repulsive. Jeanne will need a real miracle in the fall if Biss is her opponent, not Pritzker.

  4. “Hold the Party together?”
    What the heck does that mean?
    I know zero conservatives supporting Bruce Rauner. ZERO. Last cycle Rauner said all the right things and conservatives supported him. Many were suspicious on issues like allowing illegal aliens here and promoting tax payer divided abortions.
    Jeannie Ives is the only real republicans running. Again, I have found zero conservatives supporting Bruce Rauner, ZERO.
    I’m voting Jeannie Ives.
    As usual, great article Nancy Thorner

  5. I don’t know where to start, but the idea that Ives is striking back in the same way Rauner is hitting back against Ives is ridiculous. While Ives is telling the truth about do-nothing and not-in-charge Rauner, Rauner is spreading lies against Ives, even accusing her of wanting to raise taxes.
    In writing up the event, I only wrote what Senator Althoff said, not that I agreed with her rhetoric of following what Lincoln did in keeping his enemies close to him. This Polyanna type of thinking sounds outlandish to me.
    What I am concerned about is that there are too many Republican establishment elected officials here in Lake County and throughout Illinois who, in wanting to keep the status quo and the power that is derived from keeping the status quo, are viciously attacking a fellow Republican, Jeanne Ives, who, unlike Rauner, has the qualities necessary to be governor. Ives lives by the West Point code of Duty, Honor, and County. What does Rauner stand for? Can someone tell me?
    One thing is for sure, Rauner is a coward in not wishing to debate Jeanne Ives, a strong woman, like Phyllis Schlafly, who can hold her own ground. Me things that Rauner’s wife wears the pants in his family,the progressive that she is, but then Rauner was a bad Republican candidate to begin with and never was a Republican.
    My plea to Rauner is, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Republicans who are pushing Rauner are pathetic and irresponsible, yet money speaks volumes to such unprincipled individuals. Rauner has much of it to spread around!

  6. Reagan rule of 80 percent is good. Killing Unborn Babies represents 80 percent not 20 percent.
    Biss values are not much different from JB.
    It is time for Rauner to support Jeanne Ives.
    Love Saves Lives
    Carl Lambrecht

  7. “While Ives is telling the truth about do-nothing and not-in-charge Rauner, Rauner is spreading lies against Ives, even accusing her of wanting to raise taxes.”
    According to BGA, she has made at least two false statements, one of which is a direct attack on Rauner. And considering she is claiming Rauner raised taxes (which he vetoed) that is more than fair.
    “Republicans who are pushing Rauner are pathetic and irresponsible.” Cause that’s going to make us vote for Ives. It’s not all we may agree with him, or think he has the best chance to win in a blue state during a blue wave, we are all just bought and paid for.
    Want unity? Start by checking yourself

  8. I’m burned out on the ‘shirts’ vs ‘skins’ 8th grade us
    versus them baloney (bologna).
    I’m voting Constitution or Libertarian depending on the candidate.
    Yeah, go ahead and tell me I’m wasting my vote!

  9. What does one have to agree on with Not in Charge that is any different than Madigan or the Fat Slob Pritzker?
    Before the override Not In Charge said he was ok with raising the income tax to 4.95%, expanding the sales tax, and implementing a satellite and cable tv tax.
    He has caused Illinois to have more than $1 billion in late payment interest fees. There’s no fiscal sanity there.
    There is no daylight between Not In Charge and the Fat Slob Pritzker on any social issue.
    If you agree with Not In Charge you must agree with Madigan/Fat Slob Pritzker because he has pushed their agenda into law.
    As far as a blue wave goes, Politico reports that the GOP is ahead in a generic ballot, and the GOP already outperforms the generic ballots historically.
    Illinois cannot begin to heal itself until Not In Charge is gone and replaced with … anybody else. If Jeanne Ives happens to lose the primary hopefully Joe Walsh will run in the general election and actually win the election or, at the very least, retire Not In Charge from politics.

  10. Oh no, you caught me! What to do? Trump was a Democrat before too, did you vote for him? Can anyone never change their party affiliation? BTW did you check the Daily Herald or Chicago Tribune?
    “The question facing voters in the Republican primary election for governor on March 20 is who will be the standard-bearer of the party. Will it be a sincere, stalwart but flawed incumbent who has been frustrated in his efforts to bring reforms in business and state government? Or, a three-term state representative with a limited record of accomplishment, a demonstrated, indeed proud, history of ridiculing Illinois citizens who do not share her uncompromising conservative values and all but no chance of winning in November?”

  11. Trump has been a Republican for at least a decade and an independent before that. You were, by your own admission, a Democrat as recently as the last election cycle and are now demanding Republicans unify with your. Astounding. Were you a supporter of President Trump or Hilary Clinton in 2016?

  12. Also, from what I get of your article it was more of a narcissistic change of party affiliation rather than a change of heart. The Democrat party didn’t support you so you left them. It doesn’t sound like a change in ideas led to a party switch.

  13. There is also the right to abstain or vote third party. No need to put your finger prints on a guy who just discovered a couple years ago that he was a Republican when he spent his entire adult life as a liberal Democrat.