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IL GOP, Durkin Use Citizens to Change Illinois PAC to Support GOP Spokesman During Primary Against Conservative Candidate

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By Illinois Review

During the 2022 Illinois Primary, Joe Hackler wore two hats simultaneously: communications director for the Republican Party of Illinois and candidate for Illinois State Representative, Dist. 112.

A setup that represents a clear conflict of interest and gives Hackler a significant competitive advantage against his Republican conservative grassroots opponent Jennifer Korte, who was endorsed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey.

Not only did Hackler have access to sensitive donor information, email lists and voter data, but as an employee and spokesman for the Republican Party of Illinois, he had the automatic support of senior IL GOP leaders and the establishment.

Hackler also had the support of a political organization called Citizens to Change Illinois. Although not officially affiliated with his campaign, the organization sent out mailers attacking Korte with lies, and trying to link her to disgraced former Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan. A suggestion that is totally laughable.

A copy of a mailer sent by Citizens to Change Illinois in support of IL GOP communications director Joe Hackler running against conservative grassroots Republican Jennifer Korte during the 2020 Illinois Primary.


Citizens to Change Illinois also sent out mailers during the Primary attacking conservative grassroots Republican Travis Weaver, who was challenging Republican incumbent State Rep. Mark Luft, Dist. 93, who was backed by IL GOP chairman Don Tracy’s best friend – House Minority leader Jim Durkin.

The mailers painted Weaver as “Chicago liberal elite” and that “he’s not one of us.”

Ironically, the mailers had identical messaging as ones sent out by the Republican Party of Illinois during the very same time, calling Weaver a “Chicago liberal” and accusing him, saying that “he is not a Republican..he’s not one of us.” The attack mailer also photoshopped a photo of Weaver with disgraced former Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan.

A coincidence? Illinois Review thinks not.

A copy of a mailer sent by Citizens to Change Illinois in support of IL GOP communications director Joe Hackler running against conservative grassroots Republican Jennifer Korte during the 2020 Illinois Primary.

On May 28, 2022, Citizens for Durkin transferred $59,900 to Citizens to Change Illinois, just one month before the Illinois Primary.

The chairman of Citizens to Change Illinois? David Krahn, treasurer for the Luft campaign and longtime staffer to Durkin.

Since 2003, Krahn has served as the Executive Director to Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin. And since 2005, he’s served as Executive Director of the Illinois House Republican Organization – also run by Durkin.

The candidacy of Joe Hackler, a campaign backed by Durkin and the IL GOP establishment while at the same time serving as communications director of the Republican Party of Illinois is both wrong and a conflict of interest.

Interestingly, although Korte defeated Hackler in the primary, Hackler did not resign from his position with the IL GOP until August – two months after the primary.

His new job? An account manager for a marketing firm specializing in direct mail and digital advertising.

How convenient for Durkin and the IL GOP – an insider who now specializes in direct mail.

During the pandemic, Hackler supported Democrat Gov. JB Pritzker’s mask mandate, tweeting in all caps, “EVERYONE BETTER PUT ON A MASK SO I CAN WATCH YEAR THREE AYO,” who was the fighting Illini’s basketball star Ayo Dosunmu, who now plays for the Chicago Bulls.

Republican Party of Illinois Communications Director Joe Hackler advocating for masks in a tweet on July 31, 2020. (Source: Joe Hackler / Twitter).

Although Hackler’s dual roles are shocking and a conflict of interest, he is not alone.

During the primary, John Fogarty served as General Counsel to the Republican Party of Illinois and simultaneously, the attorney representing the Richard Irvin for governor campaign.

So much for IL GOP chairman Don Tracy saying the Republican Party of Illinois was neutral during the primary.

If you believe that, Illinois Review has some oceanfront property in Arizona that we’d like to sell you.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Joe Hackler is part of the RINO establishment that I hate.

    I’m an independent, grassroot conservative who has no loyalty to the Republican Party and no desire to see RINOs treated with any sort of magnanimity.

    The RINO establishment are a bunch of elitist jerks and who disdain us ordinary citizens wanting a say in our own government.

    I abhor mask mandates and anyone who would support them in any way.

    The RINOs carpetbagged in Hackler to run in the 112th State House District and did nothing to oppose Katie Stuart who is the most woke downstate Democrat who is ideologically aligned with the wokest Chicago Democrats.

    Stuart is the reason that every school in Illinois has to stock free feminine hygiene products in every boy’s restroom.

    I live in the nearby 111th District, but I care about the 112th District because it’s part of the local Metro East area and because it’s important on a statewide level to have a grassroot conservative in that seat.