By Mark Weyermuller, Opinion Contributor
Last Wednesday, the Sangamon County Republican Organization held their 119th annual Lincoln Day Dinner. It took place at the Bank of Springfield Convention Center located in the state capitol in Springfield.
It was attended by over 950 people who paid $125 or more for a sit-down dinner and to hear a variety of speakers. This author was proud to sit with a Tea Party Patriots group.
Former campaign manager for President Donald J. Trump and Fox News contributor Kellyanne Conway was the keynote speaker.
Conway currently runs a consulting firm for strategic advice, polling, and media training, and she gave a very nice speech and it was well received by the crowd.
I don’t like to complain – and I’ve repeated this many times, including on the radio, but here are my thoughts on the event.
The evening started out with a video plugging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his accomplishments, and excluded any video of President Trump.
Trump is a declared candidate for President, while DeSantis has yet to make a final decision.
What’s more, on the program describing Kellyanne Conway it says: “Thinking about Kellyanne Conway, our minds instantly go to her accomplishments as the first woman to be a successful Presidential Campaign manager and who also became a Senior Counselor to the President of the United States.”
Take note, there is no mention of President Donald Trump.
In remarks early in the event, one of the speakers said the dinner was to honor our greatest president. I immediately thought of President Trump and of course Ronald Reagan.
However, the speaker was talking about Abraham Lincoln – and it was a Lincoln Day dinner. But many people in the room felt Trump was our greatest president. Was this a snub of Trump?
Moving on to the dinner itself, which was $125 per person, while some sponsors paid more – it was a banquet style dinner with a cash bar where you got up to get your own food and cleared your own plate in a garbage can.
And the cash bar did not have any cups or ice – you were only drinking out of cans.
Again, I don’t like to complain.
The food was also somewhat meager, to say the least and included some old brown salad with green beans, roasted potatoes, roll, and a hunk of chicken or pork served on a plastic throw away plate.
And only plastic utensils were available, and it was very difficult to cut pork with a plastic knife. I don’t blame the caterer or the venue but the organizers of the event – and the Sangamon GOP should be embarrassed.
Again, I don’t like to complain.
In chatting with a group of young republicans in the back of the room, they remarked that “there is no energy in the room.”
And the room was also very cold – about 60 degrees, and the keynote speaker wore her coat most of the evening until it was time to go on stage.
Last year, there was controversy as 5 of the 6 Republican candidates for governor attended but the only one who did not attend – Richard Irvin – his surrogate and Lt. Gov. candidate Avery Bourne was allowed to speak – angering the other candidates who made the time and effort to attend.
Another highlight of the dinner besides the Conway speech was US Rep. Mary Miller, who spoke for several mInutes on stage. Her husband, State Rep. Chris Miller was also in attendance.
Both are representing what they are calling the Freedom Caucus. Her speech was about freedom, liberty and opportunity along with a conservative agenda. She was extremely well received and had a huge ovation.
During the event, a Republican leader approached and said that my social media posts are very negative.
After some thought, this author offered a positive comment – stating that Richard Irvin might make an excellent nominee in a Democratic Primary.
I look forward the elections in 2024.
And did I say I don’t like to complain?
Something is seriously wrong with the leadership of the Illinois Republican Party. Thanks for the information on Sangamon County and keep up the good work and the well deserved negativity and skepticism of the RINOs.