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Kaspar: It’s Not About Money; to Win, We Must Learn from Virginia, Engage Grassroot Conservatives



By Scott Kaspar, Publisher

Last year we witnessed Virginia flip from blue to red, with Glenn Youngkin, R, beating popular former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, D, by more than two points. That victory gave so many of us conservatives hope that Illinois could be next. And Illinois grassroots conservatives like myself rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

But the IL GOP never could have won a winnable state like Virginia. Why? Because the IL GOP measures the quality of Republicans only by how much money they donate.

Former Comptroller Leslie Munger made this point crystal clear in a comment to an IR article, writing:

“I’m struck by the number of people who have never run for office, never run a campaign, never canvassed thousands of doors, never raised millions of dollars to support Republican political efforts, and/or never contributed substantial funds to the ILGOP or a specific candidate are now the loudest voices complaining about the results of this election. I have done all of the above.”

Likewise, GOP establishment supporter Darlene stated in a comment to an IR article,

“Whoever wrote this article, I guarantee, has not donated as much as Mr Tracy has to GOP causes…”

Similarly, RNC Committeeman Richard Porter laments in a comment to his own Facebook post,

“Btw, I have not searched my own contributions — what’s my number for this cycle? I should find a less expensive passion…”

As IR has been the loudest voice since the election, presumably all of these comments have been directed to IR’s leadership. But if the contest only was about money—a contest that I didn’t intend to enter—then I already have won.

I have contributed more than ten times the amount of Leslie Munger and her husband; I raised significant amounts of money for President Trump’s campaign; and if you include the money I donated to my congressional campaign, then I have beaten Tracy and Porter both by a long shot.

Money is necessary in politics, but money alone does not win races.

As IR has reported in several articles and opinion pieces, the $100 million blown in this election, on only two candidates, resulted in spectacular losses up and down the ballot.

Rather than attack IR for pointing out inconvenient facts, the IL GOP Establishment instead should learn from Virginia, where Glenn Youngkin won the Governor’s Mansion with a fraction of the money.

While Glenn Youngkin, the former CEO of DC-based private equity giant Carlyle Group, contributed $16.5 million to his campaign, Youngkin knew that all the money in the world wouldn’t carry the day if the grassroots conservatives weren’t carrying forth his message.

During Illinois’ lockdown in Summer 2020, my family and I began visiting and spending a lot of time in central Virginia. We’ve spent time visiting sites like Monticello, and my kids spent the past two summers at camp in central Virginia. It’s provided me with many opportunities to drive the roads of central Virginia, dine at local establishments, and interact with everyday Americans living in rural Virginia.

In Summer 2021, you could sense the winds of change in Virginia. Glenn Youngkin’s signs were everywhere, but importantly his grassroots supporters were everywhere too, including supporters from the African American community.

Virginia is much like Illinois. Mostly rural with a couple bright blue urban areas. Virginia was critical to forming our more perfect union, and Illinois was critical to keeping a house once divided, standing.

If flipping Virginia blue to red can happen, then Illinois also can be flipped. But Illinois only will flip if the IL GOP engages with the grassroots. With the grassroots engaged and focused, the IL GOP will have tens of thousands of volunteers to knock doors and get out the vote.

For the IL GOP Establishment, that means placing an equal importance on volunteering, not just money. Conservative grassroots patriot S. Murray said it best in a comment to an IR article, we must place equal value on Time, Treasure, and Talent.

When our IL GOP leadership is bragging about the number of hours volunteered, and not the amount of dollars donated, we will know that our Party can win.

Scott Kaspar is an attorney licensed in Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, and California and a mechanical engineer who graduated in 1998 from the University of Illinois. Scott is a co-owner and Publisher of Illinois Review. Follow Scott on Twitter at @ScottKaspar.


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  1. “Virginia is much like Illinois. Mostly rural with a couple bright blue urban areas.”
    No wonder you lost. The majority of that state lives in that “bright blue area” You know, Cook and the Collars?
    What did your boy Trump say about Glenn Youngkin?
    And you are just going to skip over the fact that we had another election since 2021? What happened?