By Illinois Review
UPDATED – During a quarterly IL Republican Party State Central Committee (SSC) meeting in Bolingbrook on Saturday, approximately 200 conservative grassroots activists filled the room in a stunning display to publicly share their grievances about the disappointing losses during the November 8th election; the lack of support they received from the party; and demanding that chairman Don Tracy resign.
The GOP leaders were visibly stunned and far outnumbered, with many of the grassroots activists driving more than five hours to attend Saturday’s meeting.
Joining the grassroots were many former GOP candidates, including Lt.Gov. candidate Stephanie Trussell, attorney general candidate Tom DeVore, US Senate candidates Peggy Hubbard and Matt Dubiel, former state senate candidate Christine McGovern, former congressional candidates Ashley Ramos, Rob Cruz, Cathy O’Shea, Jack Lombardi, Nikki Conforti and Jim Marter, and many more.
The meeting was long, with many state central committee members praising Tracy during their committee updates and talking about the “red wave” that the GOP experienced in local races in counties like Gallatin, Coles, Hardin, Jefferson and Marion – counties unfamiliar to most people in the room, including SSC members.
But the most shocking moment of the day occurred when IL GOP Treasurer and chairman of the finance committee Vince Kolber, a multi-millionaire businessman addressed the crowd bragging about how the party raised $2.2 million this cycle (compared to Pritzker spending $152 million), and then asking the room full of hardworking grassroots conservatives,
“I assume all of you have donated to the IL GOP?”
And when the room yelled back,
“No, then what are you doing here?”
The belittling and out-of-touch comment drew an immediate reaction from the crowd, still stunned that a GOP leader would say something so offensive to a room full of people where many of them had driven hours, just for their voices to be heard.
A trusted source confirmed to Illinois Review that Kolber is registered to vote in Wisconsin and voted there on Nov. 8th despite serving as a leader of the IL GOP.
But the shocking moments were not yet over.
Leaping to Kolber’s defense was SSC member and grassroots-supported Jeanne Ives, who screamed,
“This is not your problem! This man gave me $750,000 when I ran against Gov. Bruce Rauner!”
Ives’ burst drew applause from SSC members, including Tracy, but angered the majority of grassroots in the room. Proving a point that Illinois Review has made many times in previous articles, the IL GOP establishment’s obsession with money.
If you don’t donate, you don’t matter.
And if you donate, you are somehow immune from criticism and can say anything you want.
No wonder the IL GOP can’t win an election – they can’t even win over the grassroots.
Update #2: Senior IL GOP official and chairman of the Republican Party of Illinois Finance Committee Vince Kolber would like IR to include his statement: “I remain hopeful in this season of goodwill that more of us will appreciate the need to build IL GOP membership.”
Update: Vince Kolber has reached out to Illinois Review stating that he voted early in Illinois in the General Election. Mr. Kolber did not dispute the fact that he’s registered to vote in both Wisconsin and Illinois, where he owns homes. IR reported based on a trusted source and we will continue our investigation.