Illinois GOP chairman wants review of neutrality in primary process

Don Tracy

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) — The chairman of the Illinois Republican Party is providing some insight on how the party performed recently, and what’s in store for the future.

While there wasn’t a November “red wave” as some in the Republican party had hoped, Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy said on a local level, they made an impact.

“Downstate got redder,” Tracy told WMAY in a radio interview Monday. “A lot of the county boards got more Republican throughout downstate, particularly in rural areas. In Madison County, there’s now a majority of Republican circuit judges, which means Madison County is no longer a judicial hellhole.”

Statewide, the Republican party struggled. Democrats maintained their dominance in the state legislature and also secured every statewide office. Tracy said while Darren Bailey was a strong regional gubernatorial candidate, he didn’t have statewide appeal and “had very limited funds.”

“And he was running against a polished, statewide incumbent sitting-governor with unlimited funds,” Tracy said.

While some conservative critics are demanding an audit to prove whether Republican party funds were used in the GOP primary, Tracy denied that’s the case, yet noted outside influence.

“Including the opposition playing in our primary,” Tracy said.

Since 2018, incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker spent more than $323 million for his campaigns for governor. Reporting also suggests Pritzker gave to the Democratic Governors’ Association, which funded primary campaign ads against Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, who was one of six Republican candidates in the Illinois Republican primary.

“And what did we at the state party level do, absolutely nothing because of our strict neutrality policy,” Tracy said. “Is that the right policy? I don’t know, but I’m going to appoint a committee to take a look at that.”

The top of the ticket impacted down ballot races, Tracy said.

“And a lot of these great candidates we had this past time put their heart and soul and their family treasure into these races only to be impacted by the top of the ticket, something they have no control over,” Tracy said. “So, I think we almost have a fiduciary duty to look at our primary and determine whether neutrality is the best policy.”

He said several new committees will be looking at the primary process, get out the vote efforts and how to grow the Republican party in the suburbs.

By GREG BISHOP for the Illinois Radio Network

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