By Illinois Review
During Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent visit to Elmhurst, IL GOP leaders were out in full force, showing their support for the popular governor who’s taken a stand against the woke culture in the sunshine state.
And DeSantis didn’t hold back, nor did he disappoint, directing many of his comments towards a shared political enemy: Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker.
“During Covid, even though your governor would lock you down, his family was in Florida.”
The speech in Illinois, which mirrors a mini United States, was seen as a latest sign that DeSantis is laying the groundwork to run for president in 2024.
But ever since DeSantis’ visit to the Chicago suburbs, he continues to drop in the polls, as his potential opponent – former President Donald Trump, surges – widening his double-digit lead over the FL governor.
According to Morning Consult, in February, right around the time of DeSantis’ visit to Illinois, Trump maintained a 16-point lead over DeSantis.
In March, just weeks after his visit, Trump widened that lead – leading DeSantis by now 24-points.
A similar poll conducted by TIPP had Trump leading DeSantis by 23-points in February, and 29-points a month later.
When Trump held a rally last June in Quincy, appearing before a crowd of 10,000 diehard MAGA supporters to endorse US Rep. Mary Miller, a close ally to Trump in Congress, and Darren Bailey for governor, IL GOP leaders were nowhere to be found.
But for DeSantis, they cleared their schedules – and many of them made the long trip to Elmhurst to catch a glimpse of DeSantis in a jam-packed Knights of Columbus Hall.
The mini rally was a Who’s Who of IL GOP leaders and included GOP national committeeman and the architect of the Richard Irvin campaign for governor, Richard Porter; State Senate Republican leader John Curran; State House Republican Leader Tony McCombie; and State House Deputy Republican Leader Norine Hammond.
In total, around fifteen GOP legislators from across the state were in attendance, and several former legislators, including Jeanne Ives and Dan Duffy.
McCombie replaces former House Republican Leader Jim Durkin – her mentor, who resigned in disgrace after suffering humiliating defeats last November.
In media interviews after announcing his resignation as House GOP leader, Durkin attempted to place all of the blame on the 45th President of the United States Donald Trump.
“As long as we continue to say that we are the party of Trump and that we have to abide by the party principles in the platform, 100% we’re gonna continue down this path of losing.”
Illinois Review has published several articles about Durkin using his political influence to target Trump-supporting candidates during the Illinois Primary.
Sources also confirmed to Illinois Review that the IL GOP is blaming Durkin for the party’s postage discount abuse, where mailers “Paid for by the Republican Party of Illinois” were sent during the primary to viciously attack conservative, Trump-Republican grassroots candidates that were challenging Durkin’s friends and political allies.
But the timing of DeSantis’ visit to Illinois, and the support he’s receiving from IL GOP leaders – coupled with his declining poll numbers is comical.
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.
And in 2022, the IL GOP recruited Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin who would lose the primary to conservative grassroots candidate and Trump-endorsed Darren Bailey by 43 points – and ironically, by the same margin as Keyes back in 2004.
And now, fresh off humiliating losses in the primary and general election, the IL GOP is laying the groundwork to support yet another potential candidate – Florida Gov. DeSantis.
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, 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.
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.
Perhaps after looking at DeSantis’ poll numbers drop, Trump may encourage him to make another visit to Illinois.
And hopefully, IL GOP leaders would attend that rally as well.
I find your headline kind of funny, because The Illinois GOP has NO “LEADERS”………. “LOSERS” yes! Leaders NO!
What is the best definition of leader?
A leader is someone who inspires passion and motivation in followers. A leader is someone with a vision and the path to realizing it. A leader is someone who ensures their team has support and tools to achieve their goals.