By Illinois Review
On Thursday, 30 organizations representing over 80,000 conservative grassroots activists from across the state, signed an open letter, and shared exclusively with Illinois Review, calling on the Illinois Republican State Central Committee to remove Don Tracy as chairman of the state party in a motion of “No Confidence.”
“The state of the Illinois Republican Party is not good. Under chairman Don Tracy’s leadership, fundraising is a struggle, party infighting has made its way into the pages of the Chicago Tribune, Politico and Crain’s Chicago Business – and more importantly, the conservative grassroots base – the heart, soul and backbone of the Illinois Republican Party, feels ignored – and their volunteer efforts minimized,” the letter states.
The letter also points out the “significant gains” that Democrats have made in local, state and federal races under the embattled chairman’s tenure as leader of the Republican party.
“Under chairman Tracy’s leadership, the Democratic Party of Illinois has made significant gains. In November, Republicans lost every statewide office; Democrats increased their supermajority control in the Illinois legislature; Republicans lost 14 of 17 congressional races; and in the Illinois Supreme Court, Republicans lost winnable races giving the Democrats a 5-2 majority in the state’s highest court.”
During the 2022 Primary, conservative grassroots candidates were viciously attacked by IL GOP-endorsed candidates in mailers paid for by the Illinois Republican Party – falsely claiming that their conservative opponents were “fake” Republicans and “not one of us.”
One mailer even deceptively photoshopped a picture of a grassroots candidate posing for a photo with Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, to purposely trick Republican primary voters into thinking that this conservative candidate was really a Democrat.
And who paid for this mailer full of lies? The Illinois Republican Party.
The letter also expresses frustration with the state party’s support for the anti-grassroots candidate for governor – Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, writing,
“The gubernatorial race was another embarrassment for chairman Tracy and the state party, as nearly 100 Illinois Republican Party leaders, officials and candidates endorsed the anti-grassroots candidate Richard Irvin – a man who pulled Democratic Primary ballots in 2014, 2016 and 2020. Irvin also spent years referring to Gov. Pritzker as a ‘great friend and a great leader.’ But in the end, Irvin would lose to the grassroots candidate by a shocking 43 points – in one of the biggest election defeats of an establishment-backed Republican primary candidate in modern history.”
And during the school board races this past April, Tracy and the IL GOP were nowhere to be found – abandoning the grassroots base of the party while Gov. Pritzker and the Democratic Party of Illinois spent $800,000 to support their far-left school board candidates and attack their conservative opponents.
Last month, Illinois Review revealed that while the IL GOP remained mostly silent during the school board races – in Will County, they were secretly supporting a slate of anti-grassroots candidates – even providing that slate with the state party’s postage discount – a perk not afforded to their conservative opponents.
The open letter also expresses irritation that the Illinois Republican Party has “drifted” away from its core principles and values.
“Under chairman Tracy’s leadership, the Illinois Republican Party has drifted further away from our guiding principles, choosing, instead to support candidates that are pro-choice, pro-gay marriage and pro-transgender rights – positions contrary to the Illinois Republican Party Platform.”
Tracy and IL GOP leaders often point out that both President Ronald Reagan and President Donald Trump used to be Democrats, however, as the letter points out,
“It is true, the late President Ronald Reagan and President Donald Trump used to be Democrats – but as Republican President’s – they were always defenders of the unborn and defenders of traditional family values – values that were uniquely Republican. As President Reagan so famously said, ‘I can’t help but notice that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.’ And there’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that the justices that President Trump appointed to the US Supreme Court were pro-life and pro-traditional families.”
The mindset within the ranks of the IL GOP is that Republicans win elections by compromising traditional Republican values and core principles – and moving more to the middle to be closer to the Democrats way of thinking. However, that logic is flawed, as the letter so pointedly states.
“Republicans don’t win elections by becoming more moderate – Republicans win elections by standing up for Republican values – strong families, limited government, respect for the life of the unborn and freedom.”
The letter states that Tracy’s “lack of understanding of our movement and the critical role that we play every election, will never be fully appreciated under his leadership.”
And while the co-chair of the IL GOP grassroots committee Larry Smith – who was appointed by Tracy and remains a staunch defender of the embattled chairman – claims that Tracy supports the grassroots movement – his words and actions tell a different story.
“Over the last several months, chairman Tracy has gone out of his way to attack and diminish the rise of the grassroots movement. Last month he created an ‘endorsement policy committee’ after going on radio to blame the top of the ticket for midterm election losses. In December, he offended the grassroots by not making us feel welcome during the state central committee meeting in Bolingbrook; and a few weeks ago, he gave a speech to a Lake County Republican group where he criticized the grassroots base of the party.”
And while many on the state central committee argue that they do not have a succession plan should Tracy be removed as chairman, the letter offers a thoughtful suggestion.
“If the state central committee cannot agree upon an immediate successor, then form a Chairman Search Committee and appoint members of the grassroots base and other constituencies from across the state to serve alongside the other committee members – and come to a decision as a team.
At the end of the day, it’s about winning without compromising our values – and we’re confident that with a new leader of the party, we’ll be united and hard to beat.”