By Mark Vargas, Editor at Large
Illinois Senate and House Republicans suffered debilitating defeats on election night, prompting House GOP leader Jim Durkin to resign the day after the election and Senate GOP leader Dan McConchie to resign less than a week later.
The losses leave Republicans in both chambers irrelevant in Springfield and gives Democrats a comfortable supermajority.
And on the Senate side, 34 Democrats ran unopposed – meaning there was no Republican challenger on November’s ballot.
This is unacceptable.
In media interviews after announcing his resignation as House GOP leader, State Rep. Jim Durkin attempted to place all of the blame on the 45th President of the United States Donald Trump.
“As long as we continue to say that we are the party of Trump and that we have to abide by the party principles in the platform, 100% we’re gonna continue down this path of losing,” said Durkin.
But pointing fingers and blaming others is exactly why Illinois House Republicans are in the super minority – and Durkin has no one else to blame but himself. And blaming the former President does nothing but distract from his own leadership failures.
Blaming Donald Trump is a play out of the Democrats playbook – so why are Republicans using it as well? If there was ever a case for “collusion” – this would be it. Republicans borrowing attack lines from the Democrats. And in the end, it’s the people of Illinois who lose – especially Republican voters.
There are a lot of reasons why Republicans in Illinois lost the election – $100 million directed at the campaigns of two candidates leaving a lack of funding for down ballot candidates, a divided GOP, a weak candidate at the top of the ticket whose race was called within minutes of the polls closing, no mail-in-ballot program and weak voter integrity initiatives.
And we can’t ignore the impact the abortion issue had on this election. It energized the Democratic base, labeled pro life Republicans as “extremists” and drove suburban women in masses to vote either early, by mail-in-ballot, or on November 8th.
If Illinois Republicans want to start winning again, it’s going to take a united party, a diversified pool of money and an emphasis on building a robust mail-in-ballot program.
Until then, Illinois Republicans will remain in the super minority.