SPRINGFIELD – Wednesday, Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin sent out a press release declaring that he was resigning from his leadership role in the Illinois House.
The House Republicans ran on the message of fighting for lower taxes and safer communities for families and businesses across the state, and I am proud of all our campaigns who fought hard over the last year. I congratulate all of the Republicans who will now represent these important voices in the General Assembly and fight against the Democratic Party of Illinois. While I am not pleased with the results, I will accept them.
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as Leader of the House Republican caucus, but it’s time for the Illinois Republican Party to rebuild with new leaders who can bring independents back to the party that are needed to bring change to the state. With that, I will not be seeking re-election as minority leader. I am proud of the work the House Republican caucus has accomplished under my tenure, and thank everyone who played a part along the way. I began this journey as a voice of moderation and conclude this journey the same way I started, a voice of moderation.
To the people of Illinois disappointed with these results, don’t give up hope. Tomorrow is a new day.
Soon after, word began circulating that the likely new leader would be State Rep. Tim Ozinga (R-New Lenox). But Friday, downstate Republican State Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) disagreed with that assessment. He says the situation is “very much in flux”:
The reports that one member of the House Republican caucus has secured enough votes to become the next leader are misleading and are nothing more than a deliberate attempt to create a desired outcome. The truth is the leadership situation is very much in flux.
The reason the House Republicans are undergoing the process of selecting a new leader is because of glaring deficiencies in the previous leadership of our caucus. We are not going to advance as a caucus if we perpetuate the same policies and processes that have directly led to the expansion of the super majority Democrats have enjoyed for far too long.
Our caucus needs new leadership and a new direction. The strong arming and media manipulation are the kind of tactics that have produced an apparent permanent minority caucus in the House. Many if not most of the incoming House Republican caucus members have agreed to an open process where everyone interested in running for Leader would have an opportunity to present their vision for the 103rd General Assembly and beyond.
The old days of the selection process taking place before even one vote is cast are over. We need an open and transparent process and that is what a substantial number of elected Republican representatives are fighting to achieve.
More to come as the situation rolls out …