Home Illinois Politics Exclusive Audio: Don Tracy Admits Irvin Campaign Used IL GOP Postage Discount...

Exclusive Audio: Don Tracy Admits Irvin Campaign Used IL GOP Postage Discount During Primary

IL GOP chairman Don Tracy and IL GOP establishment-backed candidate for governor Richard Irvin. (Photo credit: Illinois Review)

By Illinois Review

In exclusive audio recently obtained by Illinois Review, IL GOP chairman Don Tracy, during a meeting with conservative leaders in July, admits that the Irvin campaign for governor was allowed to use the IL GOP Postage discount for mailers – a perk not afforded to other gubernatorial candidates in the primary race.

Using the IL GOP postage discount can save a statewide campaign tens of thousands of dollars on mailers – an expensive, but necessary evil in politics.

Tracy acknowledges use of the postage discount in the recording, but says the IL GOP was taking its “direction from the House Caucus and the Senate Caucus.”

State Rep. Jim Durkin, the House GOP Minority leader, and leader of the House Caucus was an early supporter of the Irvin campaign and was highlighted on the original endorsement list.

State Sen. Dan McConchie, the Senate GOP Minority leader and leader of the Senate Caucus was not on the original endorsement list for Irvin, but during an interview with WCIA reporter Mark Maxwell the day after Irvin announced his candidacy for governor, McConchie offered a soft endorsement, saying,

“He’s the only candidate that is from the suburbs….So certainly having been here gives him an advantage. Being able to talk about the issues, having grown up here, having lived and worked here, and risen from Section Eight housing to ending up in a position where he’s actually mayor of the town where he grew up very poor to a single mother, I think that’s a great story.”

And when McConchie was asked by Maxwell about Irvin pulling Democratic Primary ballots in 2014, 2016 and 2020, the GOP Senate Minority leader had this to say in defense of Irvin,

“At the end of the day, I believe it’s what you’ve done, and what you are saying, what your vision is for the state, that ultimately makes a difference.”

McConchie is right – what you’re saying is important.

Irvin not only pulled Democratic Primary ballots in 2014, 2016 and 2020, but he also spent years praising Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker – referring to him as a “great friend and a great leader.”

And in 2020, Irvin attended a Black Lives Matter rally, yelling, “I can’t breathe!

Again, McConchie is right. What you’re saying is important.

Allowing the Irvin campaign a perk not afforded to other Republican candidates in the governor’s race is inexcusable.

Offering a discount to a campaign that received $50 million from billionaire Ken Griffin is also inexcusable. Imagine how far tens of thousands of dollars in savings could have gone for a campaign like Paul Schimpf’s, who raised a total of $150,000. Instead, the IL GOP offers savings to a campaign flush with cash.

And not offering to help other solid conservative, grassroots candidates with party discounts during the primary is inexcusable.

And as Jeanne Ives said during the meeting in audio obtained exclusively by Illinois Review – allowing the Irvin campaign to use the IL GOP postage discount is a “tacit endorsement.”

During Ives’ 2020 congressional primary campaign, where she defeated her Republican opponent by 41 points, she was not allowed to save money and use the IL GOP postage discount.

For Richard Irvin – a different set of rules applied – leaving conservative grassroots candidates like Darren Bailey and others abandoned by their own state party.

But it was clear from the beginning that the preferred candidate of the IL GOP was Richard Irvin, despite denials from senior party officials, including Tracy. Irvin’s supporters included:

-IL GOP national committeeman Richard Porter who served as co-chairman and advisor to the Irvin campaign
-Over 60 establishment-type Republicans besides Porter, including then IL House GOP leader Jim Durkin, R, Ambassador Ron Gidwitz, US Rep. John Shimkus, R, former IL GOP chairman Tim Schneider and seven members of the Republican state central committee.

Incoming IL House GOP Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs in 2013. (Photo credit: Associated Press)

And in September, Illinois Review has recently learned that Tracy personally appointed former state central committee member Nimish Jani, who endorsed Irvin for governor, to the IL GOP Executive Committee.

In June, it was revealed that Jani was the one responsible for bussing Indian-American senior citizens to the Lake County Republican straw poll to rig the poll in favor of his candidate Richard Irvin. The senior citizens, escorted by staff wearing Irvin-Bourne tee shirts, arrived at the meeting with pre-filled ballots.

Irvin would win the straw poll with 144 votes. The grassroots conservative candidate Darren Bailey would come in second place with 76 votes.

In a document shared exclusively with Illinois Review – in addition to existing state central committee members, Tracy names a few other individuals to the IL GOP Executive Committee besides Jani.

And what do they all have in common? They all endorsed Richard Irvin for governor.

Jim Zay, DuPage County board member who endorsed Irvin for governor
Brad Mills, Sangamon County Administrator who endorsed Irvin for governor

And despite Tracy trying to play neutral, his most recent personal contributions as reported on the Illinois State Board of Elections website include many Irvin supporters:

-Commissioner Sean Morrison, co-chairman of the Irvin campaign
-State Rep. Tom Demmer, treasure 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, DuPage County board member 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 what’s missing? Tracy’s personal contributions to conservative grassroots candidates.

Allowing the Irvin campaign to use the IL GOP postage discount during the primary is a “tacit” endorsement. And it further makes the point that Illinois Review has been making since the election that it’s time for Don Tracy to go.

Until then, we’ll continue to be in the minority while our party leaders find more Democrats to run for office.


  1. Summary: millionaire and alleged ex-Democrat Tracey gives a funding benefit to billionaire Griffin’s campaign for alleged ex-Democrat Irvin’s crusade. And the sixty-plus “co-chairmen” from Irvin’s campaign merely nod their collective bobbleheads in unison on orders from Porter and his ilk. The Roman writer Cicero admonished the citizenry in 80 BC always to ask “Cui Bono?”…Who benefits? To date, no state chairman (with his cowering, obsequious attendant buffoons) has accomplished any successes for the state Republican Party, nor organized campaigns for winning candidates. Such is the sell-out gaggle of “leaders,” mere fawning parasites persuing some ill-defined egotism. Illinois has gone from its successful origins in the 1800s as a diamond in the Victory Crown of National Republicanism to an insignificant pebble in the morass of defeat.

  2. A few things left out:

    – Shannon Teresi is the elected McHenry County auditor and she was unopposed in the comptroller primary
    – Jim Zay is also the DuPage County Republican Party chairman
    – Tim Ozinga is also the Will County Republican Party chairman

    Outgoing Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie is right.

    But facts also prove that under Illinois’ open primary system, candidates can switch parties and run in another party’s primary without having to meet a minimum threshold to be an “official” Republican candidate. For example, in Tennessee, a candidate cannot run as a Republican without having participated in “three statewide primaries casting a Republican ballot”. In Illinois, such a rule only applies to the Illinois Republicans’ state central committee, per their bylaws, and in Illinois-speak, that would be in three previous even-numbered regular primary elections to have cast a Republican ballot to be eligible to run for state central committee.

  3. The state party has favored candidates, before the primaries, for a long time. In 2010, I ran for the state house, in the 17th District. I thought that the state party would be neutral, before the primary. Then-Chairman Pat Brady and then-State House Minority Leader Tom Cross endorsed my liberal primary opponent.

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