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As More Anti-Grassroots Activities within the IL GOP Come to Light, Grassroots Co-Chairs Refrain from Defending Grassroots Publicly, Choosing to Defend Tracy Instead



By Illinois Review

The Republican Party of Illinois views the grassroots base of the party as “steerage,” or third-class citizens – and Saturday’s failed Motion of “No-Confidence” in chairman Don Tracy proved it.

And while evidence continues to surface about the IL GOP secretly working behind-the-scenes to support anti-grassroots candidates, the co-chairs of the IL GOP Grassroots Committee Larry Smith and Rhonda Belford remain silent – choosing to defend Tracy instead – in yet another diss to the grassroots base that they are supposed to represent.

In the last several days, Smith has had numerous phone calls with grassroots activists from across the state – angry that the co-chairs of the Grassroots Committee were the deciding votes, during a Motion of No-Confidence, that saved Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy’s job – at least for now, this past Saturday.

“Don Tracy supports grassroots conservatives more than anyone,” was a message that Smith repeated over and over during his flurry of phone calls the last several days, multiple sources reveal.

Smith also repeatedly said that Tracy has done so much for the party, including with fundraising, and that if he was replaced, it would usher in a new chairman who is anti-grassroots.

But in reality, the party is struggling to raise money – and sources within the IL GOP confirm that, and Tracy’s win-loss record rivals the Cleveland Browns in 2017 when they went 0-16.

Tracy is also anti-grassroots – and that’s been proven as well. And it’s why he’s created an Endorsement Policy Committee to pave the way for the IL GOP to officially endorse their preferred candidates in primary elections, in an apparent dig at the grassroots base of the party.

And as the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board pointed out in a Nov. 11 editorial,

“Republicans lost every state constitutional office – governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller and treasurer – and 14 of 17 congressional seats. In the General Assembly, not only did the GOP fail to gain any ground on Democrats’ supermajority, Democrats notched a record number of seats in the Illinois House. And in the Illinois Supreme Court, where Republicans had an opportunity to gain two seats…they came up short. Democrats now have a comfortable 5-2 edge in the state’s high court.”

But if you listen to Smith, the Illinois Republican Party is in a much better position thanks to Don Tracy’s leadership – however, pay no attention to his win-loss record, Chicago Tribune editorial board post-election recaps or his fundraising numbers.

Smith also proved how unqualified he is as co-chair of the Grassroots Committee, when he repeatedly stated that he didn’t know how to get in contact with grassroots activists across the state and that he’s rarely on social media – the platform where anyone could easily and instantaneously connect with the grassroots statewide.

“I don’t know how to contact them.”

Smith also made a point to attack this publication – something IL GOP officials often do, including his friend Tracy, when they are unhappy with our reporting.

This past Easter weekend, senior and former IL GOP officials deployed representatives to try and intimidate the editor-in-chief and publisher of this publication – and threatening them with lawsuits in an attempt to silence and stop Illinois Review from publishing any more stories critical of the Republican Party of Illinois and its leaders – in a blatant and deliberate attack on First Amendment rights – and more specifically, Freedom of the Press.

Censoring media outlets is typical in third world countries ruled by dictators – but for Republican Party of Illinois leaders to want to censor and attack the leading conservative news publication in Illinois because they are bothered by the facts is both sad and alarming.

In Russia, President Vladamir Putin signed into law legislation that criminalizes news publications from reporting on anything that contradicts, or is critical of his administration.

In China, a country that leads the world in jailing reporters, there are an estimated 274 journalists currently in prison for reporting on stories that angered the ruling Communist political party – and citizen journalist Zhang Zahn sits in a Chinese prison for her reporting the facts during the pandemic.

In Iran, there are 41 journalists in prison for writing stories that exposed the corruption of Iranian authorities.

But think about that – Republican leaders wanting to censure and silence a conservative Republican news publication.

Only in Illinois.

However, if Smith and Belford are truly representatives of the grassroots movement in Illinois, then they should issue a public statement in support of the grassroots – condemning the activities and attitudes of Tracy and the IL GOP towards the conservative-base of the party.

Prove to the grassroots that you have their backs.

Third-class citizens, they are not – the future of the party, they are.


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  1. From POLITICO Thursday morning, May 18, with emphasis added:

    FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The Illinois Democratic Party has hired new staffers for fundraising, data, organizing and communications, making it the largest full-time staff the party’s ever had outside of an election year, according to insiders.

    The new positions are permanent and will operate year-round, an indication party Chair Lisa Hernandez is sticking to her promise to pull together an organization that works beyond election season.


    There it is, proof positive the Democrats’ success in the 2023 elections will not only be used again in the 2025 elections, but won’t stop at school boards (look at the village of Oswego and the Democrats flipping the majority of the Oswego village board).

    Don’t leave out 2024, but with the POTUS race already guaranteed to award Illinois’ 19 electoral votes to the Democratic nominee (no matter whom he or she is), and no statewide race, and all but 1 of the 17 U.S. House races being competitive, Democrats well positioned to win an 80-seat Illinois House supermajority, and target counties where Republicans still have a vestige of control, most notably McHenry and Will counties.

    The Oncoming Storm is coming, and today’s news of the largest staffing of the Democratic Party of Illinois is the equivalent of a peacetime draft being implemented in the late 1930s and early 1940s, before WWII.

    I’m being a realist here, and the extinction of Republicans, including conservatives, grassroots, moderates, all politically is about to take place unless something drastically changes, and quick.