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Don Tracy Donates to Democrat Endorsed by Sen. Durbin Just Months Before His IL GOP Chair Election



By Illinois Review

In 2002, Don Tracy ran in the Illinois primary for the 50th State Senate District as a Democrat.

In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Tracy’s family-owned business, Dot Foods – where he is an owner, donated to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

And new revelations uncovered by Illinois Review show that on September 4, 2020 – just months before his election as chairman of the Republican Party of Illinois, Tracy made a personal donation to Citizens for Judge Emily Sutton – a Democrat running for Circuit Court Judge in the 9th Judicial Circuit.

Just prior to Tracy’s donation, Sutton received a boost from two influential Illinois Democrats – US Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL and US Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-IL, who at the time, was chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA.

“Judge Sutton has proven that she is knowledgeable, ethical, and just. She is the only candidate with judicial experience and the only candidate to have experience in areas across the spectrum of Illinois law,” said Bustos in her endorsement of Sutton.

“Judge Emily Sutton is the only candidate with the experience and character necessary to serve the people of west-central Illinois as circuit court judge,” said Durbin in his endorsement of Sutton.

Upon further review of Tracy’s personal donations, records on the Illinois State Board of Elections website reveal that he made personal donations to candidates aligned with Richard Irvin’s governor campaign.

Commissioner Sean Morrison, co-chairman of the Irvin campaign
-State Rep. Tom Demmer, treasurer candidate and a member of the Irvin campaign’s slate of candidates
Shannon Teresi, comptroller candidate and a member of the Irvin campaign’s slate of candidates
-Jim Zay, who endorsed Irvin for governor
-State Rep. Tim Ozinga, who endorsed Irvin for governor
-State Rep. Tim Butler, who endorsed Irvin for governor
-State Rep. Jim Durkin, who endorsed Irvin for governor

And although Tracy didn’t endorse any of the candidates for governor during the 2022 primary, his donation record in support of candidates aligned with Richard Irvin is telling.

His records also show that he didn’t make a single donation to any of the conservative grassroots candidates to include Darren Bailey, Peggy Hubbard, Matt Dubiel and many others.

Last January, when word began to spread about Irvin’s potential candidacy, Tracy confirmed to reporter Mark Maxwell that he was in fact jumping into the race, saying that Irvin would announce his candidacy for governor on Martin Luther King Day.

Tracy told Maxwell that Irvin is “definitely a Republican,” and that he pulled Democratic primary ballots in 2014, 2016 and 2020 because “that’s where the action is,” in Chicago – even though Irvin is a mayor in Aurora, more than an hour west of Chicago.

A copy of Richard Irvin’s voter history. (Source: Kane County Clerk’s Office)

Illinois Review can’t recall a time when Tracy spoke to the press and offered a preview of any other candidate announcing their campaign for governor. A review of press articles reveals that Irvin was the only one.

Prior to running for governor, Irvin spent years praising Democrat Gov. JB Pritzker, referring to him as a,

“Great friend and a great leader.”

And in 2020, Irvin spoke at a Black Lives Matter rally yelling,

“I can’t breathe!”

The Illinois Republican party is in total disarray – and it has been, for years. And it explains why Republicans can never win in Illinois, despite solid, grassroots conservative candidates stepping up and running for office. The IL GOP leadership has too many connections with Democrats.

This also explains why GOP establishment leaders have a hard time supporting conservative grassroots candidates in Illinois.

If IL GOP leaders are serious about restoring our great party and purging our ranks of Democrats, then they should immediately call for the resignation of IL GOP chairman Don Tracy.

Until that happens, Republicans in Illinois will continue to be in the minority, while their leaders continue to befriend Democrats.

Or maybe that’s the goal.


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  1. For readers unfamiliar with suburban Chicago politics.

    Jim Zay is the chairman of the DuPage County Republican Party, and a member of the DuPage County Board.

    Zay won reelection to the 6th District, and DuPage has a (6×3)-1 county board configuration, meaning 6 districts and 3 members elected from each, and a chair elected at-large.

    Dan Cronin did not seek reelection to a 4th term, and the Democrats flipped the board chair with Deb Conroy’s win.

    Dems hold an 11-8 county board majority (counting the chair) and barring any changes as result of recounts in DuPage County.