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Anti-Trump IL GOP Leaders, Who Endorsed RNC Chair Ronna Romney, Now Throwing Support Behind Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Potential Presidential Run



By Illinois Review

Since 2002, the IL GOP has been politically irrelevant – and virtually everything they touch, dies.

In 2004, the IL GOP recruited Maryland resident Alan Keyes to run against then IL state senator Barack Obama for US Senate.

Keyes would lose the race to Obama by 43 points, 70-27.

The IL GOP’s candidate Alan Keyes, a resident of Maryland is defeated by IL state senator Barack Obama by 43 points in the 2004 US Senate race.

In 2014, IL GOP-establishment candidate Bruce Rauner, a wealthy private equity executive, would defeat Gov. Pat Quinn, D, 50-46, but in 2018, billionaire JB Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, would defeat Rauner’s re-election hopes by a significant margin, 54-38.

And in 2022, the IL GOP recruited Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin to run for governor in the primary, despite Irvin pulling Democratic Primary ballots in 2014, 2016 and 2020, and spending the last several years praising Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker – referring to him as a “great friend and a great leader.”

Irvin would lose the primary to conservative grassroots candidate Darren Bailey by 43 points – and ironically, by the same margin as Keyes back in 2004.

Republican conservative grassroots candidate Darren Bailey defeats the IL GOP’s candidate Richard Irvin by 43 points in the 2022 Illinois Republican gubernatorial primary.

And now, fresh off a humiliating loss in the primary, the IL GOP is laying the groundwork to support yet another potential candidate – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who may run against presidential candidate Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination for president.

But this comes as no surprise.

Since the 2015 presidential campaign, the IL GOP has remained anti-Trump.

During the 2016 national GOP convention, many IL GOP leaders, including then Gov. Rauner, former Gov. Jim Edgar, US Sen. Mark Kirk and Rauner-appointed Comptroller Leslie Munger, skipped the convention because they did not support Trump.

Kirk even ran an ad that said that Trump was not “fit to be Commander in Chief.”

But the Never Trumpism doesn’t stop there.

When President Trump visited Illinois in 2018, Gov. Rauner skipped the event – choosing to attend other events across the state instead of sharing the stage with the President of the United States.

In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, IL GOP chairman Don Tracy’s family-owned business, Dot Foods – where he is an owner, donated to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden – who at the time, was running against President Trump.

And in 2022, owners made a $3,900 donation to US Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R.; a $4,900 donation to US Rep. Rodney Davis, R.; and a $51,000 donation to the Republican Party of Illinois.

Sen. Murkowski remains one of Trump’s most vocal critics. After January 6th, she supported his impeachment and removal from office. On January 9, 2021, Murkowski said, “I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage.”

Murkowski went on to say that, “if the Republican party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me.”

In 2020, US Rep. Rodney Davis was one of 35 House Republicans to support the January 6th Commission to investigate the attack on the US Capitol – a move that angered Trump.

Davis has also said that he’d vote for Liz Cheney for president; he supported some forms of Black Lives Matter ideologies; he said Trump needed to “grow up;” and in 2016, he withdrew his endorsement of then GOP nominee for President Donald Trump.

Tracy has remained a staunch and loyal supporter of Rauner, and it’s why when Rauner became governor in 2014, he rewarded Tracy’s loyalty and financial support, by naming him to lead Illinois’ gaming board.

During Rauner’s campaign for governor in 2014, Tracy created an independent expenditure fund, and later changed the name to support Rauner’s gubernatorial run – even running ads on the radio to promote and support Rauner’s candidacy.

In one of those ads, Tracy says,

“In Springfield, our economy and quality of life depend on a healthy state government that pays its bills, educates and employs us, and keeps promises to retirees. Quinn has failed on all counts. That’s why it’s now or never for central Illinois voters to elect a proven leader like Bruce Rauner. … Our Springfield future depends on it.”

On March 23rd, Tracy and the IL GOP are traveling down to Naples, Florida to host a private reception featuring former US Attorney General Bill Barr, who served as AG under the George HW Bush and Donald Trump presidential administrations.

The IL GOP is hosting a private event with former US AG Bill Baar, a critic of former President Donald Trump in Naples, FL.

Barr remains critical of Trump, and in November, he published a scathing opinion piece in the New York Post, writing,

“Unless the rest of the party goes along with him, he will burn the whole house down by leading ‘his people’ out of the GOP. Trump’s willingness to destroy the party if he does not get his way is not based on principle, but on his own supreme narcissism. His egoism makes him unable to think of a political party as anything but an extension of himself – a cult of personality.”

And sources have recently confirmed to Illinois Review that senior IL GOP officials are quietly recruiting anti-Trump, Republican-establishment candidates to challenge US Rep. Mary Miller IL-15 and US Rep. Mike Bost, IL-12 – both of whom were endorsed by Trump in the last election.

And while school board candidates are battling it out, and Gov. Pritzker is dumping $500,000 to viciously attack every day, conservative grassroot moms and dads, the IL GOP is in south Florida, fawning over anyone critical of Trump, and gathering support to prop up DeSantis. When they should be here in Illinois helping these candidates raise money and supporting their campaigns in any way that they can.

But when you translate the words, “IL GOP,” it literally means, “to be irrelevant.” And they continue to prove it year after year, decade after decade.

And if history is any indication, DeSantis is better off staying as far away from the IL GOP as possible. After all, anything they touch, or endorse, becomes irrelevant, dies, or both.


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  1. Davis, Kinzinger Vote In Favor Of Marriage Equality
    July 20, 2022 2:11 pm
    Two Illinois Republican congressmen…both lame ducks… are among those who voted in favor of legislation that would codify marriage equality in federal law.
    All Democrats in the U.S. House voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, but fewer than one-fourth of House Republicans supported the bill. Illinois Republicans Adam Kinzinger… who is not seeking re-election… and Rodney Davis… who was defeated in last month’s GOP primary… voted for the bill to protect marriage rights for same-sex couples.

    Rodney Davis Voted to Strip Military Servicemembers of Due Process Rights

    • A total of 39 House Republicans in early December voted for H.R. 8404 to concur with the changes in the U.S. Senate.

      More sad, even younger conservatives, like failed IL-11 Republican nominee Catalina Lauf, came out favorably she would vote for the “Respect for Marriage Act” back in mid October.

    • Much has changed in the 2 1/2 years since that Charlie Kirk video was made.

      A year from now, the early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, Michigan) and Super Tuesday (March 5) Republican primary/caucus voters will have had their say between Trump, DeSantis and the rest of the field (who will be also-rans unless Trump bows out, or can’t run).

      Many in the Republican presidential electorate who’ll be participating, while they genuinely believe/like all Charlie Kirk said in that video, have also had enough of Trump’s antics. This isn’t 2015/early 2016, it’s 2023-early 2024, and counting Trump’s age (he’ll be 77 at start of 2024), many believe Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who’ll be 45 a year from now, is the way to go.

      Put another way, Trump, with his constant unsubstantiated let alone unproven claims of election fraud, has the right message, but he’s become the wrong messenger.

      Yes, I get the gist of this article trying to paint DeSantis as a haven for establishment Republicans and never-Trumpers from Illinois to go, and Republican candidates in next year’s primary will have to declare if they’re a Trump Republican, a DeSantis Republican or something else.

      It’s like “conservative”-claiming people having to be stratified into true “social conservatives”, or tainted “cultural conservatives”.

      As the old saying goes, “fortune favors the bold”.

  2. Since 1980 population of Illinois has increased 1.2 million. In 1980 caucasians were 72% of the population, by 2020 only 60%.

    Since 1980 there are over 600,000 LESS caucasians in the state, 200,000 MORE Blacks, 600,000 MORE Asians and 1.65 million MORE Hispanics.

    And the caucasian population is going down fast. Look at the schools and their demographics.

    The National and state GOP have tried to pretend this was not a an issue for decades. Like ostriches with their head in the sand.
    Look at California over the last 50 years and see what has happened. It will get worse.

    Nobody wants to state this reality. But I am doing it. This combined with the many points mentioned in this article means the GOP is done for in this state. Sure, there will be pockets of GOP strength but as for making policy and running the state it will make little difference.