Post-Primary, Illinois Republicans Continue to Fight Over Who Controls the Party

Gov Rauner rallies Republican supporters at the 2017 State Fair
Rep Ives, announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination for Governor, Oct 28, 2017

Rep Jeanne Ives (R), strongly backed by the conservative wing of the Illinois Republican Party, barely lost the Republican nomination for governor to Gov Rauner in March, but she remains a person of great influence within the party.

And despite Gov Rauner’s statements that he wants Republicans to come together for the fall elections, the divisions that were so pronounced during the primary campaign, are now continuing to divide Republicans in a heated fight over the future of the Illinois Republican Party and who will become its new chairman.

Gov Rauner announces on Sept 28, 2017, he’ll sign HB-40

On May 19th in Springfield, Republicans hold their state convention, and selecting a Party Chairman is among the top issues to be determined.  Gov Rauner is backing the incumbent chairman, Tim Schneider.

Conservative Republicans say Rauner lied about not having a social agenda when he ran four years ago, and say he split the GOP when he signed into law, HB-40, that allows for taxpayer funding of abortions.  The Governor also signed SB-31, which conservatives say made Illinois a “sanctuary state” for illegal aliens.  Both of these issues conservatives say, puts the Illinois Republican Party at odds with the National GOP.

On Sunday, May 6, Rep Ives and State Rep Dave McSweeney, issued a statement backing Mark Shaw to become the new State Party Chairman. Thus the divisions between those who backed Jeanne Ives and those aligned with Gov Rauner, continue their fight for the future direction of the Illinois Republican Party

May 6, 2018 – Today, State Representative and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) joined State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in announcing their endorsement of Committeeman Mark Shaw for Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party over incumbent ILGOP Chairman Tim Schneider.

“Mark Shaw has a record as a commonsense conservative who is unafraid to stand up for our party platform and take on the political ruling class in Illinois,” said Ives. “He will work with all members of our party to win races so we can pull this state back from the brink of financial disaster. The current chair has demonstrated neither the willingness or ability to advance our party in such a direction.”

“Simply put, Chairman Schneider has failed as our state party chairman. Under his leadership dozens of Democrats went unchallenged in state legislative seats, he alienated the conservative ILGOP base in the gubernatorial race by choosing sides in a primary, and under Schneider’s leadership a man who proudly associates with the Nazi party is on the ballot as a Republican. His tenure has been an unmitigated disgrace,” Ives continued.

After the disastrous 2017 legislative year, during which 15 legislative Republicans joined Democrats on the largest permanent tax increase in the history of the state, McSweeney said, “if we cannot agree on no new taxes as Republicans, then we cannot agree on anything. Tim Schneider failed to unite our party against a massive tax increase.”

McSweeney went on to say, “Mark Shaw is a solid conservative who will work to expand the Republican Party. Tim Schneider, Chairman of the Illinois Rauner Party, is an inept insider who has badly damaged the party of Lincoln and Reagan.”

Both legislators have served in the Illinois General Assembly since 2013 and have led on issues of tax cuts, government accountability and spending reform.

Ives plans to attend the ILGOP State Central Committee meeting on May 19th in Springfield, where the election for state party chairman is scheduled to take place.