Illinois GOP needs to re-establish itself, Bailey says
Darren Bailey dreads that the Illinois Republican Party has grown to resemble the rest of the state too much.
“That we have some party leaders still bickering the way they are this close to such a critical election is poor leadership on the part of the party,” he told SE Illinois News. “It’s as bad as the situation is across the state, where almost every lawmaker seems only concerned about what figures to aid them.”
Bailey’s reflection was prompted by an internal power struggle in which Republican leaders had begun lining up behind either incumbent state GOP chairman Tim Schneider and his re-election effort or challenger Mark Shaw.
In the end, party leaders were able to broker a truce in a reorganization plan that paves the way for Schneider to run unopposed and for Shaw to assume the role of co-chairman and head of the county chairmen’s association.
Schneider, who also serves as a Cook County commissioner, had the support of Gov. Bruce Rauner, while Shaw, Lake County GOP chairman, was backed by Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), who narrowly lost out to Rauner in their bitterly contested Republican primary battle.
Even with that problem solved, Bailey, a Xenia Republican running against Democrat Cynthia Given of Olney in the 109th House District, stresses there’s still much work to be done for the party to be able to put its best foot forward.
“The party has lost its focus and needs to re-establish itself,” he said. “That’s one of the biggest reasons we can’t get things done even when we have everything in place to get something done.”
Going into November’s general election, Bailey said conservative candidates have to be ready to stress to voters what truly makes them different from the status quo candidate.
”When I hear Democrats talk about issues without hearing them mention any reforms, I’m convinced that GOP candidates have to be able to get their individual messages,” he said. “You can’t rely on just being a conservative, what matters is being able to make a difference.”