By Illinois Review
Jeanne Ives built her brand in Illinois as a conservative grassroots firebrand who challenged the political establishment in Springfield and Chicago – and she proved it when she nearly beat incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner during the 2018 Republican primary.
And then a badly damaged Rauner would go on and lose re-election in the general election a few months later to first-time political billionaire candidate JB Pritzker by an astonishing 16 points.
In 2020, COVID hit and Gov. Pritzker shut down the state – including schools and businesses and mandated the vaccine for health care workers, certain state employees, college students and college employees.
But ever since her election to the Republican state central committee in 2022, Ives has abandoned her base for the IL GOP elites – becoming part of the establishment instead of opposing it. And her actions don’t lie.
During the 2022 election cycle, Ives served as an advisor and endorsed her close friend, Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau in his failed bid for Congress. As Illinois Review has reported in previous articles, Pekau routinely attacks his constituents online; harassed female Orland fire district candidates – following them in his car as they campaigned and knocked on doors in local neighborhoods; called Chicago Firefighters an “embarrassment to their profession;” and honored progressive liberal Marie Newman, who supported vaccinating children, with a community appreciation award.
On March 21, Ives was scheduled to speak at an Orland Township Republican meeting – Pekau’s local GOP group, alongside Republican national committeeman Richard Porter – the architect of the failed Richard Irvin campaign for governor.
But after Illinois Review pointed out the event featuring Porter and Ives as special guests in a March 16 article, Porter quietly backed out, but Ives remained a speaker.
Porter, to this day, continues to defend Irvin’s Republican credentials 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.”
During a quarterly IL Republican Party state central committee meeting in Bolingbrook in December, approximately 200 conservative grassroots activists filled the room in a stunning display to publicly share their grievances about the disappointing losses during the November 8th election; the lack of support they received from the party; and demanding that chairman Don Tracy resign.
The GOP leaders were visibly stunned and far outnumbered, with many of the grassroots activists driving more than five hours to attend the meeting.
The meeting was long, but the most shocking moment of the day occurred when IL GOP leader and chairman of the finance committee Vince Kolber, a multi-millionaire businessman addressed the crowd bragging about how the party raised $2.2 million this cycle – compared to Pritzker spending $152 million, and then asking the room full of hardworking grassroots conservatives,
“I assume all of you have donated to the IL GOP?”
And when the room yelled back,
“No, then what are you doing here?”
The belittling and out-of-touch comment drew an immediate reaction from the crowd, still stunned that a GOP leader would say something so offensive to a room full of people where many of them had driven hours, just for their voices to be heard.
But the shocking moments were not yet over.
Leaping to Kolber’s defense was state central committee member and grassroots-supported Jeanne Ives, who screamed,
“Vince is not your problem! This man gave me $750,000 when I ran against Gov. Bruce Rauner!”
Ives’ burst, and seemingly out of body experience drew applause from state central committee members, including Tracy, but angered the majority of grassroots in the room. Proving a point that Illinois Review has made many times in previous articles, the IL GOP establishment’s obsession – including Ives, with money.
If you don’t donate, you don’t matter. And if you donate, you are somehow immune from criticism and can say anything you want.
And since that time, Ives has gone on the attack against this publication. In an interview with Crain’s Chicago Business in April, Ives offered a stunning on-the-record quote when asked to comment about IR, stating, “I don’t read their garbage.”
Sources also confirm to IR that during that same time frame this past Spring, Ives proposed in a private meeting that the state central committee ban this publication, including publisher Scott Kaspar and editor-in-chief Mark Vargas from attending all future meetings.
The proposal was immediately shot down and the discussion shifted to another topic.
Censoring media outlets is typical in third world countries ruled by dictators – and for Ives to suggest that the state party censor the leading conservative news publication in Illinois because she is bothered by the facts is both sad and alarming.
In Russia, President Vladimir 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.
On Wednesday morning, Ives took to her Facebook page and continued her attacks, saying this publication is “filled with lies.”
Ives’ Facebook comments were all over the map. After attacking this publication, she tried to walk back her support of DeSantis, and then in another comment she slammed the events with Donald Trump Jr., falsely claiming that the event can’t sell tickets.
The full day of events has not yet been released, and only a portion of the tickets have been public for less than 24 hours, and Ives is already publicly stating that the Donald Trump Jr. event is having trouble with attendance.
The McHenry County GOPAC is hosting an event for Donald Trump Jr. at 11:00 am on October 27th. You can purchase tickets here. A more detailed schedule of the book tour will be posted on Illinois Review when it becomes available.