Illinois Republican Party Makes Deal To Avoid Leadership Fight

May 16, 2018
Originally published on May 16, 2018 5:45 pm

After weeks of feuding within the Illinois Republican Party an unusual agreement has been reached with hopes of bridging the divide.

In a rare move, the two men vying to be chairman of the Illinois Republican Party have decided to team-up and share the role. Governor Bruce Rauner’s hand-picked choice, current party leader Tim Schneider, faced opposition from Lake County GOP chairman Mark Shaw.  He has the backing of many conservatives -- especially those who supported state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton in her run for governor earlier this year.

House Republican leader Jim Durkin said he supports the unconventional approach because it puts an end to the turmoil within the party. “The most important goal is to win in November – to be a united team and if it means that we’re going to have to change things and also do things which we have not done in the past – so be it,” he said.

In a joint statement, Schneider said he considers Shaw a great asset to the party organization and hopes the restructuring will help with the November elections.  “Conservatives in Illinois must come together to reelect Governor Rauner, or we won’t have a voice in state government for the next decade. 

Shaw said he was looking forward to working alongside Schneider as the party’s conservative and grassroots outreach point person.

Since narrowly winning the primary elections, Rauner has since tried to reach out to conservative voters.

Ives has continued to be outspoken on this division and lack of representation for those who backed her campaign. In a statement, Ives said she was “guardedly optimistic” about the party’s decision. “If this compromise elevates the party's conservative base in terms of both policy views and party leadership, that would be good.”

The Republican State Central Committee is scheduled to meet this Saturday when the chairman vote will take place. 

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